After the long winter you’re probably ready to enjoy fun in the sun. Before racing out the door, refresh your knowledge of some outdoor perils and how to manage them. A little caution can help keep your summer safe and healthy.
Bees are good for the garden, but their sting can be dangerous.
To avoid stings:
- Don’t wear bright colors, flowery patterns or flower-scented products. They attract bees.
- If you see a bee or bees hovering, leave the area.
- Don’t swat at bees; it can cause them to attack.
- Remove any nests you find on your property.
If you get stung:
- If you can see a stinger, remove it.
- If needed, take an anti-inflammatory, pain reliever or antihistamine.
- Apply cool compress to sting.
Seek medical assistance if there is:
- Swelling of more than 3 or 4 inches in diameter.
- Pain and swelling for more than 24 hours.
- Shortness of breath or tightness in throat or chest.
- Dizziness or fainting.
- Nausea or vomiting.
Get immediate medical help if stung in the mouth or nose. This can cause swelling that blocks the airways.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread by deer ticks that feed on deer, mice and other woodland animals. But tiny deer ticks are tough to spot – the first sign you may see is an expanding rash from infection. Untreated, lyme disease can lead to arthritis, nervous system and brain disorders – even heart disease.
To avoid infection in parks and woodlands:
- Wear light colored, long sleeve shirts and pants.
- Treat adult clothing with deer tick repellent before going outdoors. (Never apply directly to the skin. Never use on children’s clothing.)
- Use insect repellent that contains DEET; up to 30 percent concentration for adults, 10 percent for children under 16. NEVER use on children 3 years or younger. Always follow prescribed and safe guidelines for use of repellents.
- Do a full clothing and body check after walking in wooded areas.
Signs of Lyme disease:
- Early stage – Up to one month after infection
Expanding round red rash, fever, chills, headache, stiff neck, fatigue, muscle or joint pain.
- Later stage – One month or more after infection
Numbness or tingling in arms or legs, persistent headache/memory loss, stiff neck, partial facial paralysis, swelling or pain in the joints.
Smart summer eating
Healthy grilling tips:
- Cut fat from meat and skin from poultry and marinate in fat-free salad dressing, lemon juice, rubs or spices for great flavor without the fat.
- Cook meats to an internal temperature of 160 degrees.
- Grill healthy fruits and vegetables, such as peppers, onions, tomatoes, corn, squash, cantaloupes, pineapples and peaches. They taste great right off the grill and take just minutes to cook.
- Check food expiration dates.
- Use a cooler or ice packs to transport all foods.
- Food poisoning symptoms occur two to 48 hours after eating spoiled food and include: abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever or chills. If you suspect food poisoning, treat with rest, rehydration, BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce and toast) and call your physician as soon as possible.
Water is your best friend
Water is vital to good health. But 75 percent of Americans are chronically dehydrated, partly because many mistake thirst for hunger and grab a snack instead of the water they need. Untreated, dehydration can lead to heat exhaustion or even heat stroke.
Summer’s heat and humidity make the problem worse by causing an increase in perspiration. So, every day, try to drink at least 64 ounces of water, milk, juice, soups or other non-caffeine or sugared drinks. Avoid caffeine, found in regular coffee, cola and many teas. It can dehydrate you even further.
Signs of mild dehydration:
- Dry mouth
- Sticky saliva
Signs of moderate dehydration:
- Extreme thirst
- Lightheadedness that is not relieved by laying down
Signs of severe dehydration (any of these symptoms require immediate medical attention):
- Extreme anxiety, confusion, or sleepiness
- Persistent light-headedness
- Weak, rapid pulse
- Cold, clammy skin or hot, dry skin
- Loss of consciousness