Summer Safety Reminders

As the warm weather approaches, this is a good time to be reminded of some preventable steps to keep you and your family safe while enjoying all of the outdoor activities that we are fortunate to have here in Southern California.

Sun Protection

It is important to wear sunscreen year-round, but as you spend more time outdoors in the warmer months, you need to be extra diligent with how and when you apply sunscreen. Apply one ounce of sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before going outdoors and reapply every 2 hours if swimming or sweating. Look for broad spectrum protection that blocks both UVA and UVB rays with at least SPF30. As an extra bonus, in addition to helping prevent skin cancer, wearing sunscreen slows down the development of premature aging of skin. Hats, sunglasses and protective clothing with UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) serve as an extra layer of protection when spending time in the sun.

Special Precautions on Hot Days

During the hotter months it’s key to take preventive steps against overheating, and to watch for signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

PREVENTION

Drink plenty of water prior to being outdoors, continue to drink water throughout the day even if you don’t feel thirsty, and stay indoors during mid-day on extremely hot days. This is especially important for adults over 65 years old whose bodies are less effective at regulating temperature particularly those with chronic health conditions. Wear light colored, light weight loose fitting clothing, and avoid exercising outdoors on extremely hot days even if you are healthy and fit.

SIGNS & SYMPTOMS

Heat exhaustion symptoms include confusion, dizziness, fatigue, dark colored urine, fainting, headache, muscle or abdominal cramps, profuse sweating, pale skin, rapid heartbeat, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Even though you will feel hot, your skin remains moist and cool. If not treated, heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke. The first sign of heat stroke may be fainting as the core body temperature rises to 104 degrees Fahrenheit with the skin feeling hot and dry due to the cessation of sweating.

TREATMENT

Heat stroke is a medical emergency and 911 should be called immediately. If heat exhaustion is suspected, get out of the heat and get inside to rest, preferably in air conditioning. Drink plenty of fluids avoiding caffeine and alcohol, and remove any tight or heavy clothing. It may also help to take a cool shower, bath or sponge bath.

Remember to never leave a child or animal in a car. Even when you think it isn’t hot outside, the inside of a car can turn into a hotbox in just a few minutes.

In and Around Water

During the warmer months people flock to community pools and beaches. Larger crowds require you to be more aware of your surroundings when swimming and enjoying other water activities.

SWIMMING POOLS

The big takeaway with swimming pool safety is the importance of a “pool watcher”. Pools tend to be active and loud allowing for a child to drown without being seen or heard. Never let a child swim alone, and always have an adult assigned to watch the pool during parties.

OCEAN

Don’t swim alone, try to swim near lifeguard stations and always pay attention to the water condition flags and postings. Never swim where there are surfers, as they may not have the control to redirect themselves if your paths cross. Be aware of the undercurrents, shallow water and rocks.

WATERCRAFT

When jet skiing, water skiing, wake boarding and boating, always be alert for other watercrafts, paddle boarders and swimmers. Everyone should wear a life vest regardless of their age and swimming ability.

Drink Responsibly

The coming months are packed with times to celebrate with family and friends. While enjoying the holidays, birthdays and other momentous occasions, drink responsibly, and don’t drink and drive. Remember that operating a watercraft when drinking can bring the same consequences as when driving a car.

Prom and graduation season is a good time to remind your teens of the confidential South County Safe Rides program based out of Mission Hospital. Supervised by an adult advisor, transport teams - each made up of a volunteer male and female high school student - provide rides home to teens under the influence, stranded, or wanting to leave an uncomfortable situation. Teens can call (800) 273-7433 (RIDE) Friday and Saturday nights from 10 p.m. to 1:15 a.m. during the school year.

Find more information on South County Safe Rides at Mission4Health.com/SafeRides