Tips to stay safe during the summer while still having fun
June brings vibrant colors, sticky heat and humidity and outdoor activities. Kids are out of school for the summer break, people are planning vacations and the hours of daylight extend. Warm weather brings people outdoors for hiking, biking, picnics and camping. Summer is great for relaxing and having fun. Keeping safe ensures the memories created this summer are positive.
Playing it safe around water is a top priority. Swimming is the most popular summer activity for kids age 7-17, so practicing safety around water prevents illness and injury. Teach children and grandchildren not to put pool water, river water or lake water in their mouths. To keep germs out of pool water, teach children to use the restroom instead of the pool. Take children to the restroom about every hour. If the child is not toilet trained, check and replace swim diapers every half hour or so. Only diapers designed especially for swimming are suitable for the pool.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the second most common cause of death in children ages 1 to 4 years, while the most common cause is birth defects (see www.cdc.gov). To prevent drowning, always have a responsible adult supervising children swimming in the water or when around water.
Teach children how to swim. Swimming lessons protect a child from drowning. Many public pools and local YMCA organizations offer swimming lessons.
Learning CPR (Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation) can save a drowning victim's life. The American Red Cross offers affordable CPR courses (visit www.redcross.org).
Installing fencing all the way around a home pool prevents children from gaining access, especially when the gate latch is mounted on the inside and at the top of the fence.
Wearing a proper life jacket at all times around the pool and when boating helps prevent drowning. Of the people who died in boating accidents in 2009, 73 percent drowned and more than 90 percent of those who drowned were not wearing a life jacket, according to www.cdc.gov.
Suffering from heat-related illnesses is fairly common during the summer months. Those at greatest risk are infants and children younger than 4 years old, according to the CDC (see www.cdc.gov).
Never leave children, infants, elderly or pets in parked cars, even with the windows cracked open. Staying cool by showering or bathing beats the heat. Wearing lightweight, loose-fitting and light colored clothing helps. Staying in air conditioned areas helps. Fans may not be enough to keep cool. Sip more water than usual, usually 2 to 4 cups of water an hour is enough when working outside or exercising. Drinking alcohol is dehydrating, so it is best to avoid beverages with alcohol. Avoid direct sunlight by staying in the shade.
Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are different heat-related illnesses. Heat exhaustion leads to heat stroke if it continues. Take action at the first signs of heat exhaustion. Signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, weakness, cold, pale and clammy skin, nausea or vomiting and fainting. If someone is experiencing any of these symptoms, move into air conditioning or a cooler location, loosen clothing, sip water and apply cool wet cloths to as much of the body as possible. Call 911 and seek immediate medical attention if nausea and vomiting persist.
Heat stroke is the next stage after heat exhaustion. Heat stroke should be treated immediately by medical personnel, so call 911 right away. Symptoms of heat stroke include a high body temperature above 103 degrees Fahrenheit, hot, red, dry or moist skin, rapid and strong pulse and possible unconsciousness. While waiting for an ambulance to respond, move the person if you can to air conditioning or a cooler location, do not give anything to drink and reduce body temperature with cool wet cloths over as much of the body as possible until help arrives. For more information on heat-related illnesses, visit www.cdc.gov.
Using sun screen every time we go outside can prevent skin cancer. Only a few severe sunburns can turn into skin cancer later. Covering up with clothing helps stop the sun's rays from burning skin and using a sunscreen that provides UVA and UVB helps protect skin from damaging rays.
Falling at home and at play is a primary reason for childhood emergency department visits, according to www.cdc.gov. Supervising young children on playgrounds and making sure equipment is safe and surfaces are soft prevents injuries. On public playgrounds, more injuries occur on climbers than on any other equipment. On home playgrounds, more injuries occur on swings, according to www.cdc.gov.
Using gates and barriers to keep young children from playing on stairs helps prevent injuries. A bump, a blow or a jolt to the head can cause a brain injury. Concussions occur with all sports, but may not be recognized, and sometimes symptoms occur hours later. Symptoms of a concussion may include a headache, balance problem, memory problem, concentration problem, blurry vision, slower reactions, confusion, disorientation and sometimes unconsciousness. If a concussion is suspected, medical care should be received. Repeated concussions over time leave the brain permanently damaged.
Prestera Center recognizes that physical health and mental health are closely related. Prestera offers access to effective behavioral health treatment services, including rapid intake and high quality behavioral health services to people of all ages. A variety of services are available that promote wellness and recovery, helping people achieve their full potential.
Prestera Center offers Putnam County residents access to effective professional mental health and addictions treatment services in Winfield and Hurricane. Offices in Winfield are located at 3389 Winfield Road, Suite 8, on the grounds of the Courthouse Complex (304-586-0670). Offices in Hurricane are called "Hopewell" and are located at 3772 Teays Valley Road (304-757-8475). The Hopewell offices specialize in serving adults with insurance in need of addiction treatment and mental health problems like grief, depression and anxiety or more severe mental health problems. Both offices are accepting new clients and scheduling appointments. Walk-ins are also welcome Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. at the Winfield location.
Kim Miller is the director of Corporate Development at Prestera. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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