15 Tips to Stay Safe and Healthy this Summer

Summer is here. And while fun in the sun is on everyone’s mind, health and safety should take priority, too. Here are 15 tips to stay safe this summer.

1. Stay hydrated

You should be well acquainted with your reusable water bottle during the warmer months of the year. Everybody has different water requirements based on size, physical exertion, health issues and more. But heat is a factor that raises everyone’s need for hydration. “Staying well hydrated helps to reduce heat illness and it is also very important to acclimate to hot environments,” Cleveland Clinic says. So listen to your thirst, and don’t forget you can snack on some hydrating foods, as well.

2. Protect yourself from the sun

applying sunscreen

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Sun protection is important year-round. But as we spend more hours outdoors in the summer, it’s a time to take sun safety seriously. “Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30,” the American Cancer Society recommends. “Put more on at least every 2 hours, and after swimming or sweating.” Plus, cover up with clothing, a wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses whenever possible. And seek shade, especially during the peak sun hours of the day.

3. Help your body stay cool

As we near the hottest part of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s important to take some precautions to prevent overheating. Besides drinking plenty of water to help your body sweat and cool down, try to be active outdoors only during the cooler hours of the day (mornings and evenings). If you do go out in the heat, make sure you always have access to shade or an air-conditioned environment where you can go if you feel overheated. Plus, dress for the weather. “Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing to help sweat evaporate and keep you cooler,” the American Cancer Society says.

4. Don’t let the dog days drag you down

The energy-sapping dog days of summer might make you feel like eating ice cream in front of a fan. But don’t let the heat cause you to skip your workouts. “You may need to change where you exercise and avoid the peak heat and humidity, but don’t get lazy,” Cleveland Clinic says. Go outside when it’s cooler. Join a gym. Or start a new workout routine at the pool. There are plenty of options to stay fit throughout the summer. Just don’t push your body past its limits, and go slowly when starting a new workout plan to avoid overuse injuries and other health issues.

5. Plan for natural disasters

For many people, summer is a time of severe storms and more frequent power outages. So it’s also an ideal time to go over your emergency plan for the types of natural disasters that affect your area. Make sure you have emergency supplies and a first-aid kit on hand. And check that everything is still within its expiration date. Hopefully you’ll never have to put these plans into action, but it’s always better to be prepared.

6. Check on family and friends

friends visiting and having a cup of coffee

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Hot weather can be especially hard on certain groups of people, including older adults and those with medical conditions. So even though you might be having fun in the sun, it’s good to check in frequently with family, friends and neighbors to make sure they’re doing well. Especially if a storm hits or it’s unbearably hot, it’s always worth giving your neighbors a call to check on them. After all, you’d hope they would do the same for you.

7. Be mindful of more traffic

With the nice weather and kids being out of school, traffic seems to increase exponentially during the summer months. So depending on where you live, you might have to pay extra attention as you move about town. “Cell phone distracted walking is a huge problem, and rarely are we more vulnerable than when walking, crossing streets and negotiating traffic,” according to the National Safety Council. Look out for pedestrians, cyclists, children playing, out-of-towners and more all of whom can cause traffic distractions. A little extra care can go a long way to ensuring everyone’s safety.

8. Snack on seasonal produce

One great way to stay healthy this summer? Stock up on seasonal produce. Some of the healthiest foods you can eat including berries, melons, herbs, beans and tomatoes are at their peak during the summer. Try to visit farmers markets to get the freshest produce possible, ideally grown without pesticides. Fresh produce looks and tastes delicious, making you more likely to eat it. And your body will thank you for it.

9. Don’t relax on food safety and hygiene

You might be eating more meals outside in the nice weather. That’s always a treat. But it doesn’t mean you can relax on food safety and hygiene practices just because you don’t have the conveniences of a kitchen. Always wash your hands, prep surfaces and utensils before preparing food outdoors. Make sure refrigerated foods are kept cold until you’re ready to eat. “Throw out leftovers that have been sitting out for more than 2 hours, or 1 hour if the temperature is over 90 [degrees Fahrenheit],” according to the American Cancer Society. Plus, if you’re cooking meat, never allow plates or utensils that touched raw meat to come in contact with cooked foods. After all, no one wants to spend their summer with stomach trouble.

10. Respect water safety

mom and child in a swimming pool

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Water safety is for everyone from young children to expert swimmers. Whether you’re going to the pool, to the beach or out on a boat, being attentive and following the rules is key. “Drowning caused 3,709 deaths in 2017,” according to the National Safety Council. “The younger the child, the greater the risk.” Johns Hopkins Medicine recommends always supervising children in or near any body of water. And make sure you have safe flotation devices for boating and other water activities. Plus, it’s worth learning CPR and other safe rescue methods if you’re regularly involved in water activities.

11. Be smart with fireworks

According to the National Safety Council, at least eight people died and almost 13,000 needed medical attention from incidents with fireworks in 2017. Some of these cases were “due to amateurs attempting to use professional-grade, homemade or other illegal fireworks or explosives.” But other injuries came from simple firecrackers and sparklers. That’s why the National Safety Council advises people to leave fireworks to the pros. Not to mention fireworks especially stray pops from unscheduled displays can be bothersome to some community members, including soldiers with PTSD. So enjoy the displays in your community, and don’t take unnecessary risks with your own health or the health of those around you.

12. Take care of pets

dog on the beach

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Speaking of fireworks, the pet community around you probably isn’t too happy about all the booms and pops that come with summer. If you have pets, keep a close eye on them during these warmer months. Protect them from heat and sun. Ensure they’re safe around water, barbecues, bonfires and other typical summer activities that pose dangers. And make sure they’re secured during storms, fireworks, parties and other activities. A lot of pets unfortunately go missing during the summer because of all the commotion, so do your part to take care of your animals.

13. Watch out for pests

Both you and your pets need to watch out for pests. Fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and more all tend to swarm as the temperature warms. Know what their bites look like, how to treat them and what potential complications could be. In the case of mosquitoes, Cleveland Clinic recommends getting rid of any standing water around your property, using insect repellent on your clothes (not skin) and fixing any broken screens. Try to use insect repellent with the safest ingredients possible, and don’t use products that combine sunscreen and repellent. (The application needs between the two varies too much.) Plus, remember that human repellents can be toxic to pets, so follow your vet’s advice on how to protect your animal.

14. Know how to identify poisonous plants

The foliage also is hitting its stride during the summer months including poisonous plants. Know how to identify these plants, such as poison ivy. And don’t forget that it’s possible for the plants to show up in your backyard just as they do along hiking trails. According to Cleveland Clinic, you should see a doctor if you get a serious rash or if it involves your face. “Do not apply Benadryl or Caladryl to the skin,” Cleveland Clinic says. “Applying plain calamine and cool compresses is fine, but topical Benadryl can be a skin sensitizer.”

15. Get out in nature

father and son hiking in a forest

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Yes, nature comes with risks. But it also has myriad benefits. Take advantage of the nice weather by getting outside. Being around nature has a stress-busting, rejuvenating effect. It can promote a more active lifestyle, allow you to breathe cleaner air and lower your risk of certain diseases. Plus, simply heading out to your local park can increase your sense of community, which also is important for your health and well-being. So go outside. Stay healthy and safe. And have fun this summer.

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Marija M
Marija Mabout an hour ago

tks for sharing

Leo C
Leo C3 hours ago

Thank you for sharing!

Knud T
Knud Tyesterday

Thank you

Teresa W
Teresa Wyesterday

neither am I, Christine

Teresa W
Teresa Wyesterday

Roslyn, you may use the tips in six months' time, when it is summer in Australia.

Teresa W
Teresa Wyesterday

thank you

Roslyn M

Why assume it's summer in the entire world? It's winter in Australia.

Naomi Dreyer
Naomi Dreyeryesterday

cute picture

Naomi Dreyer
Naomi Dreyeryesterday

good advice

Carole R
Carole Ryesterday

Thanks. Cute pic.