Summer is almost here. With hot weather, summer travel and outdoor activities, summer can present hidden dangers. The following is a list of tips that will make your summer safe and fun:
1. Swim Smart: We often think of kids as the only ones who need to be careful around water, but adults need to practice good swimming safety, too. Don't swim alone, don't drink alcoholic beverages while swimming, and don't overestimate your swimming abilities. If you are at the ocean, make sure to heed the rip current warnings and appoint a desigated "water watcher" to help make sure everyone in your group stays safe.
2. Wear Sunscreen Daily: How often do we go outside to mow the lawn, do some yard work, or go for a walk. We think we won't be out in the sun for very long, so we don't both to put on sunscreen. (I am super guilty of this.) While the sun brings warmth and lots of vitamin D, it also can be dangerous. Make sure you're using plenty of sunscreen, even if you don't think you'll be out for very long, and even if you don't typically burn. Those UVA and UVB rays can be sneaky, so it's best to play it safe.
3. Stay Hydrated: Our bodies need water: lots of water. When you are going out in the summer heat, make sure that you drink plenty of water (or Gatorade or whatever us use to replenish yourself when you sweat a lot). Get a nice insulated water bottle, fill it up and carry it with you. Sip it consistently throughout the course of your time out in the heat so that you stay well-hydrated.
4. Use Insect Repellent: Insects are not only annoying, but they can carry diseases: Zika, Lyme disease, malaria...the list goes on. When you are outside, make sure to use insect repellent. There are plenty of spray versions available, and if you are having an outdoor gathering, citronella torches and candles are helpful when it comes to keeping bugs at bay. If you are interested in more holistic and natural options, click here:
5. Don't Ignore Thunder: There is a saying: "When the thunder roars, go indoors." Thunder means there is lightning in the area. Lightning is beautiful, but it can also be dangerous. Use the 30-30 rule. If you see lightning, start counting. If you hear thunder before you hit 30, it's time to go inside. The odds of being struck by lightning are one in a million, but with thunder and lightning come storms. Some storms bring hail (it hurts!) and dangerous winds. The best bet is to go inside and watch from the safety of your home.
6. Watch Your Grill: It's fun to have friends and family over for a backyard barbecue. Good food and good company make for a good time. Just make sure you are minding your grill while you are visiting with your guests. It is easy to get distracted when there is a lot of activity happening around you. To keep your children, grandchildren and pets (and the adults, too) safe, make sure you don't leave your hot, sizzling grill unattended.
7. "Summerize" your car: Just like we make sure our cars are ready for the cold winter months, we also need to make sure they are ready for the hot summer months. When you take it in for an oil change, ask them to make sure that your car is well equipped to handle the heat of the summer. No one wants to get stranded somewhere in 90 degree weather because the car decided to take it easy because it is just too hot.
8. Give Wildlife Space: National Parks are popular travel destinations during the summer. One thing to keep in mind when you are wandering through Yellowstone, Yosemite, or Denali, is to give wildlife space. Too often when tourists get gored by bison or tossed by elk, it is because they got too close and the animal felt threatened. Give animals their space. You are in their home. Many of them have wandered those areas for generations. Giving the animals their space no only keeps you and your loved ones safe, but it protects the animals as well. It's sad when an animal is euthanized because a human did not abide by the rules and give the animal its space.
9. Pay Attention to Poisonous Plants: I love to hike. I know a lot of other people do, too, and when I go to Nachusa Grasslands, or White Pines State Park, I don't always stay on the path. I see a tree or a flower that I want to photography and I wade through the flora to get close to it. If I'm wearing jeans, no big deal. But in the summer, I usually wear shorts. And I could not tell you what poison ivy or poison oak looks like. So it is a good idea to educate yourself on what poisonous plants you might encounter on your adventures in the great outdoors and do your best to avoid them. If you need help like I do, click here:
Photo Credit: Jennifer Payton Photography