Memorial Day is the traditional start of summer, meaning outdoor time, swimming, picnics, and travel. Here are tips to keep your family healthy, happy, and far from the ER.
Not Looking Forward To Swimsuit Season?
If you want to lose weight, says Lisa Lillien of the Hungry Girl website, don’t use crash diets, make healthy choices. Spend weekend time prepping proteins and veggies. Then for a hot dinner, throw the ingredients together. Have smart snacks around: jerky, protein bars, nuts, fruit. Eating more often seems counter-intuitive, but prevents overeating at mealtime.
More about food: At picnics, keep mayonnaise salads cool. Enjoy them straight from the refrigerator; don’t let them sit more than 15 minutes in the sun.
Proper hydration is important, especially in hotter weather. Drinking enough water improves body function and keeps you from feeling unnecessarily hungry. Eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily will maintain moisture balance, but if you’re a caffeine drinker, triple that. Bonus: Staying hydrated gives skin that healthy glow.
Remember being told, “You’ll drown if you go into the water right after eating”? That’s too strong, but Sue Leahy, president of the American Safety and Health Institute, says during digestion, “There’s less blood flow in your body, and this takes away from strength. So if you really had to use your strength for undertow, you might have a problem.” Best to wait half an hour after you eat.
Children pose different problems. The National Safety Council says more than one in five drowning victims are 14 or younger. Find age-appropriate swim lessons for your child, and don’t rely on lifeguards; never leave your child unattended.
Be Good to Your Skin
Just one blistering sunburn doubles your risk of melanoma. You have to apply the right kind of sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher), frequently (every two hours), and enough: a teaspoon for the face, and about a shot glassful for the body.
If you forgot, apply cooling botanicals generously at first sight of a pink glow to reduce peeling and inflammation.
Be Good To Your Eyes
To help prevent cataracts, as well as wrinkles, wear sunglasses that block at least 99% of ultraviolet A and B.
Watch For Heatstroke
Heatstroke is a big problem for outdoor workers and older people in apartments without air conditioning but can happen to anyone.
“The first sign is cramping in the legs,” says Sue Leahy. “Cool off and drink fluids until it goes away. Cramping – especially in the leg – is a sign the body is losing salt and electrolytes, and you should heed it.”
Bugs can transmit Lyme disease, West Nile, Zika, and other illnesses. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend insect repellents containing DEET (10% to 30%), except on children under two months.
Move It But Don’t Lose It
If your children travel by bicycle, skateboard or scooter, they need helmets that meet CPSC safety standards. Never let children ride near moving traffic.
Don’t allow children too young to have a driver’s license on riding lawnmowers or off-road vehicles. Children are involved in 30% of ATV-related deaths and ER injuries.
The Fourth of July is a big summer event, and emergency rooms brace for the injuries. Fireworks can cause severe burns, blindness, scars, or worse – even sparklers can reach over 1000 degrees and can start fires. The National Safety Council says that in 2010, fireworks caused about 15,500 reported fires, including 1,100 structure fires. Families should attend professional community fireworks displays rather than using fireworks at home.