Richard: TRMC shares summer sun and safety tips

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Remember the saying about it being so hot you can fry an egg on the sidewalk? It’s July; it’s Louisiana; it’s hot!  So, be vigilant about certain heat- and other summer-related factors to keep you and your family safe.

Heat or sun stroke is among the most serious heat-related illnesses. It occurs when body temperatures rise quickly, sweating mechanisms fail, and your body cannot cool down. If this happens, seek emergency treatment immediately.

To lessen the risk of heat illness, stay hydrated, avoid strenuous outdoor activity, and remain inside or under shade during peak heat, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Watch for dehydration symptoms, including thirst, weakness, decreased urination, mild headaches, and dry skin. Remember the 8×8 rule—8 eight-ounce glasses of water a day.

Other ways to prevent dehydration include:

  • Eat popsicles;
  • Drink sports drinks with electrolytes;
  • Always carry a bottle of water;
  • Wear light-colored clothing;
  • Use a portable or handheld fan when outside;
  • Avoid alcohol.

Many of us enjoy leisure time in the summer sun, even though we know it’s important to avoid sun exposure.  Once you go outside, even when using sunless tanners, remember to apply sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30. Check the label for “broad spectrum,” which protects from both UVA and UVB rays.

If you tend to burn even when wearing sunscreen, you may not be applying it correctly or reapplying enough. Here are a few tips:

  • Massage sunscreen thoroughly into your skin;
  • Let it dry for 10 to 15 minutes before heading outdoors;
  • Use a water-resistant formula if you will be sweating or swimming;
  • Reapply often, at least every couple of hours;
  • Remember easy-to-miss spots–the back, sides of the face, neck, and tops of the ears;

Don’t use sunscreen on infants younger than 6 months old. When outside, dress your baby–and yourself–in UPF-rated clothing, wide-brimmed hats, and sunglasses.

If summer plans take you to the lake, beach or pool, follow basic water safety tips especially if children are around. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the leading cause of injury death for children ages 1 to 4.

  • Never allow children to be alone near any water source and make sure they always wear life jackets;
  • Take them with you if you leave the pool or beach area;
  • Build a barrier around your home pool and keep life-saving devices nearby;
  • Don’t swim alone or while under the influence of alcohol or medications;
  • Never swim during thunder or lightning;
  • Don’t dive headfirst into unfamiliar or shallow bodies of water;
  • Learn first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

For more information contact the Wellness Education Center of Thibodaux Regional, 985-493-4765.

Katie Richard, MA, BSN, RN, is education and training coordinator for Thibodaux Regional Medical Center.