August – Summer Safety

Summer months mean more outdoor activities for most Albertans; after all the snow comes too soon!  Summer is no time to get careless with safety, though.  Because we are more active and spend more time in the sun there are specific hazards that we need to be aware of.

Follow CCSA’s Summer Safety Tips to Make Sure Your Summer Isn’t a Bummer!

Sunburn

Sunburn is no joke! DYK, according to the CDC more than one-third of adults and nearly 70% of children admit they’ve gotten sunburned within the past year? Yikes!

The best way to protect your skin from sunburn is to avoid the sun! But who wants to do that? Here are some tips to help you enjoy the sun and stay safe.

– Stay out of the midday sun (from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM).
– Find shade if you need to be outdoors.
– Wear protective clothing such as wide brim hats, sunglasses with UV ray protection, loose-fitting, tightly woven clothing that covers you up, clothing made with sun protective factor (SPF).
– Use sunscreen that has a SPF of at least 30 or higher & says “broad-spectrum” which protects skin from UVA and UVB rays.
– Apply the sunscreen at least 20 – 30 min before going in the sun to all exposed skin, including nose, ears, neck, scalp, and lips. It usually takes about 30 mL (1 fl oz) to cover an adult’s body.
– Apply sunscreen every 2 to 3 hours while in the sun and after swimming or sweating a lot.

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke

Among the most worrisome conditions from prolonged heat exposure are heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat exhaustion is a heat-related illness that can occur after you’ve been exposed to high temperatures, and it often is accompanied by dehydration.  Heat exhaustion can cause muscle cramps, low blood pressure, rapid pulse and nausea and can quickly lead to heat stroke. 

You can help prevent heat exhaustion by:

– Wearing lightweight, light coloured, loose-fitting clothing, and a wide-brimmed hat.
– Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more.
 -Drink plenty of fluids.
– Avoid caffeine and alcohol.

Signs of heat exhaustion include: Feeling thirsty, dizzy, weak, uncoordinated, & nauseated.

What to do if you suspect heat exhaustion:

– Rehydrate asap!
– Move to a cooler location.
– Stop physical activity.
– Place a cool, wet cloth on the face and chest.

Heat stroke is the most serious type of heat illness. People with heat stroke will often appear dehydrated or dry from losing sweat and their mental status may be abnormal. Heat stroke is a medical emergency that can cause seizures, loss of consciousness and even death.

Heat stroke requires immediate first aid and medical attention. Delayed treatment may result in death.

What to do if you suspect heat stroke:

– Call 911 immediately.
– Stay with the person until help arrives.
– Move to a cooler, shaded location.
– Remove as many clothes as possible (including socks and shoes).
– Wet the person’s skin and clothing with cool water.
– Apply cold, wet cloths or ice to head, face, neck, armpits, and groin.
– Do not try to force the person to drink liquids.

Signs of heat stroke include:

– Hot, dry skin or profuse sweating.
– Confusion.
– Loss of consciousness.
– Seizures.
– Very high body temperature.

Nesty bugs!

Warm weather means Albertans are outside! But we’re not the only ones who get active in the summer. There are also some creepy crawlies out there that can cause serious illnesses for us.  Two of these pests are mosquitoes and ticks.

Mosquitoes and West Nile

Mosquitoes are a bother, but did you know they can also transmit viruses like West Nile to humans & other animals? Here are some tips on how to protect yourself:

– Wear long-sleeved tops and long pants when outside.
– Make sure door/window screens fit tightly & free of holes.
– Minimize your time outdoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
– Use an insect repellent containing DEET; for children, the insect repellent should contain no more than 10 per cent DEET; for adults, no more than 30 per cent DEET.
– Empty any standing water around the property.
– Clean eavestroughs of debris regularly so water does not accumulate.

Symptoms/signs of West Nile virus include fever, headache, body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph nodes.

Severe symptoms/signs may include stiff neck, sleepiness, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, and paralysis.

What to do?

Mild symptoms of West Nile fever usually resolve on their own. For signs or symptoms of serious infection, such as severe headaches, a stiff neck, disorientation or confusion, seek medical attention right away. A serious infection generally requires hospitalization.

Ticks and Lyme Disease

Ticks can spread many illnesses including Lyme Disease. Who wants to be sick for the summer…or longer? Here are some tips to avoid ticks:

– Avoid areas where ticks may be more common, such as high grasses, leaf piles, and bushy areas.
– Dress in long pants tucked into socks, long-sleeved shirts, and hats.
– Use insect repellent.
– Once indoors, look for any possible tick bites — keep in mind that ticks can be as small as a poppy seed.
– Don’t forget your pets! Dogs can be vaccinated, or you can use tick control products. Thoroughly check your pets when then come in from outside for ticks.

What to do if you’ve found a tick?

Use fine-tipped tweezers, grasp it as close as possible to where it’s attached on your skin and pull it straight out. Then clean the area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water. Do another check to make sure you didn’t miss any small ticks.

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