The school year is over, and days of outdoor fun with friends and family are finally here. But as the temperature rises, so do your chances of getting hurt.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were more than 2.4 million emergency room visits by children 14 and younger in the United States during the summer of 2004. Here are some things you can do to stay healthy and happy this summer.
BE SPLASH SMART
Don’t go into or near a pool by yourself – even if you are a strong swimmer. Make sure you have a parent or other adult with you at all times.
Always check to see how deep the water is in a pool before getting in. If it is over your head, ask an adult for permission.
If you are on a boat this summer, wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket. BEAT THE HEAT The sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so whenever possible, take regular breaks in the shade during this period.
Did you know that you can get a sunburn in as little as 15 minutes? Wear sunscreen lotion with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher every day.
Put on sunscreen at least 30 minutes before you head outside and reapply it every two hours. Ask someone to help you get the hard-to-reach places, like your back and shoulders.
Wear a wide-brim hat and sunglasses that provide up to 100 percent UVA and UVB protection.
Say goodbye to bug bites. Put on insect repellent that has been approved for kids.
Wear light-colored clothing. Insects such as bees are attracted to bright colors.
If you do get bitten by a mosquito or other pest, put something cold on the bite for instant relief.
SCRATCH OUT POISON IVY
Poison ivy lurks at local parks, hiking and camping trails, and even in your own backyard. Find out what it looks like: If you spot it, be sure to stay away.
If you feel very itchy or your skin gets swollen or red after playing outside, tell a parent or other adult.
If you’ve been exposed to poison ivy, take a shower as soon as possible and wash your clothes.
DRINK IT IN
The hotter it is, the more at risk you are for dehydration and heat exhaustion. Watch for these warning signs: dizziness, fatigue or nausea.
Drink lots of noncaffeinated liquids, such as water and sports drinks.
Limit how much soda you drink; many soft drinks have a lot of caffeine, which makes it harder for your body to hold onto its water supply.
ROLL THE RIGHT WAY
Wear a helmet, as well as knee, elbow and wrist pads when riding a bike, scooter or rollerblading. Helmets help reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent.
Head injuries are especially dangerous. Even if you feel fine after hurting your head, tell someone right away.
If you do scrape your knees or elbows, have an adult clean and bandage the cut. Use ice to reduce swelling if there is any. – Melissa Kong
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