It’s time to talk summer safety! With summer comes barbeque, camping, and other outdoor activities. Summertime fun has its own seasonal related illnesses and injuries that you need to be aware of.
Heat related illnesses, disease carrying insects, water sports, playground equipment, bicycles, and motor sports activities all present great dangers when you’re not using precautions.
I’m sure that I don’t have to remind you of how hot and humid our summers are. When participating in outdoor activities, remember to drink plenty of water and to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Always be aware of the temperature outdoors. Strenuous activity on a hot day can cause heat exhaustion or even heatstroke very quickly. Be on the lookout for these symptoms:
- Flushed skin
- Rapid breathing
- Heavy sweating
- Muscle cramps
- Cool flesh with goose bumps (even in the heat)
If you see any of these symptoms develop, remove yourself or the affected person indoors. Give them plenty of water, loosen any tight clothing, and mist the body with cool water or use ice packs in the armpit and groin areas. Always seek medical attention when needed.
Ticks and mosquitos, are summer pests that we’re all familiar with. There are many products available to combat insects. Be sure to use an effective insect repellant when outdoors to prevent bites from insects that potentially carry diseases like Zika or Lyme disease. A great tip, which you may not be aware of, from the American Academy of Pediatrics says that you should avoid combination sunscreen/insect repellant products because sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours but insect repellant should not be reapplied.
Water sports, like swimming, should be closely monitored. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three children die every day as a result of drowning. Learn CPR to help save a life and keep an eye out for anyone in the water that may be in trouble.
Playground equipment can pose many hazards. Slides and platforms can be very hot during summer months. Please take care to avoid burns. Be mindful of sharp edges and protruding bolts, nails, and screws. Take the time to look over the equipment for any potential problems. It’s always better to be safe rather than sorry.
Bicycles are a great way to enjoy the outdoors. Protect your children and yourself by wearing helmets and ensure that your bicycles are equipped with safety reflectors. Always abide by all traffic laws. Bicycle Safety in Arkansas is a great resource from the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, Arkansas State Police, and the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department. Please share this booklet with others.
Motor sports like all-terrain vehicles (ATV), are in much greater use during warm weather months. Children not old enough to possess a driver’s license should not be allowed to operate ATVs. They have a greatly increased risk of injury. Parents, please set a good example by exercising the proper safety measures when operating an all-terrain or off road vehicle. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children make up about 30% of all ATV related deaths and injuries. Let’s do our part to lower this number.
There are many more dangers associated with the summer season. Please take the few extra minutes it takes to follow all safety precautions, make many memories, and enjoy your summer!
Thank you for helping keep Mississippi County safe.
Sheriff Aubry D. Cook