Summer is coming quickly, and as the weather warms up, many people are excited to get outside and participate in their favorite summer activities. Time spent outside in the sun can lead to a number of injuries or illnesses. The most common of these can be easily avoided, and with a little preparation, you can have a safe and healthy summer this year.
One of the top summertime injuries, a painful sunburn, comes from exposure to the sun’s UV rays. It commonly occurs when you forget to apply sunscreen adequately and often enough to protect you during the day. Wearing hats, sunglasses, and covering up can help reduce the amount of UV rays you are exposed to, as well as reapplying sunscreen every 2 hours. Doing so can reduce your risk of skin cancer and premature aging.
Sunburns are frequently treated with over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce inflammation, aloe vera gel or ointment, and by avoiding more sun exposure. A more severe burn can require medical attention, particularly if it begins to blister. This indicates a second- or third-degree sunburn, and should be treated by a doctor.
2. Heatstroke, Heat Exhaustion, and Dehydration
It is easy to get caught up in the fun and forget to properly hydrate when the weather is warm. Water is crucial to your body’s ability to cool off, and forgetting to drink enough can lead to heatstroke or heat exhaustion.
The symptoms of heatstroke include: lack of sweating, confusion, change in mental state, and hot, red skin. Heat exhaustion is characterized by dizziness, a thready or weak pulse, nausea, cramps, and cool, moist skin. Dehydration can cause increased thirst, weakness, dizziness, fainting, sluggishness, a swollen tongue, dry mouth, fainting, and palpitations.
People with mild symptoms of any of these illnesses should be moved somewhere cool and given fluids. Icepacks applied to the neck and groin can also lower body temperature. More severe symptoms indicate the patient should seek medical assistance.
3. Diving and Water Sports Injuries
Diving and other water sports injuries can often cause spinal injuries, lacerations, and concussions. Refrain from diving or jumping into water until the area has been inspected for dangers like rocks, shallowness, fishing lines and hooks, or people in the water. Be cautious when jumping, and never jump in the water if you or others involved are intoxicated.
Injuries from water sports frequently require immobilization and emergency treatment. Call 911 if an accident occurs in the water. Stabilize fractures, and keep the victim still. Watch for signs of shock, and cover the injured person with a blanket, towel, or coat. Emergency medical treatment is required for spinal and head injuries.
4. Insect Stings and Bites
Often, stings and bites can be painful, but fairly harmless. Certain insects, like mosquitos or ticks, can transmit diseases, however. These diseases include West Nile, dengue fever, and Lyme disease. While these diseases are not common, people displaying symptoms, such as a fever, should be tested. Using an insect repellant can help prevent bites.
Bee stings can be dangerous to those with allergies to bees, those who have been stung multiple times, or those who are showing signs of anaphylaxis. Treat these cases immediately with Benadryl or a prescribed epinephrine injection. The patient should be examined by an emergency clinic after a sting.
5. Allergies and Asthma
When summer flowers are blooming, allergy and asthma sufferers may experience symptoms more than normal. On high-pollution and high-temperature days, people with allergies or asthma are encouraged to remain indoors and take their prescribed medications to control symptoms. If asthma symptoms become severe, individuals should be treated by a clinician or emergency room.
Picnics and potlucks are summer traditions, but undercooked food or perishable food left out can lead to food poisoning. Taking steps to control the temperature of food, such as keeping perishable foods refrigerated or cooking meat properly, can prevent the spread of foodborne illnesses such as salmonella. If food poisoning occurs, patients should try to stay hydrated. Seek medical treatment if more severe symptoms appear, such as bloody diarrhea or dehydration.
7. Rhus Dermatitus
Contact with poison ivy, poison oak, and sumac can result in a red, itchy, sometimes painful rash. They are frequently treated with over-the-counter anti-histamines, calamine and other anti-itch lotions. More severe cases, where the rash is swollen or painful, should seek treatment from a doctor. These rashes can be avoided by wearing protective clothing, learning to recognize and steer clear of the plants that cause them, and washing exposed skin, clothing, or other items as soon as possible.
Injuries from summer activities can be avoided with some care and preparation. Knowing the causes and how to avoid these injuries and illnesses can help you stay safe all summer long, and can avoid trips to the emergency room as well. Accidents do happen, however, so it is best to be prepared. Packing a proper first aid kit and learning how to use it can be useful for small injuries, but for more severe ones it is always best to seek medical help.
If you are injured in an accident that could have been prevented, you need experienced legal representation to help you get the compensation you deserve. Our Denver personal injury attorneys at Jordan, Herington & Rowley are prepared to fight for your rights. Contact our firm today to learn more about how we can help with your case or to begin a free case evaluation.