One thing almost every family looks forward to all year is summer fun. Whether you're the kind of family that enjoys going to the beach, taking walks as a family or just sitting around grilling and enjoying the weather, summer is the perfect time to get outside and enjoy nice weather.
However, it's important to stay safe while you're enjoying longer nights and warmer weather. High temperatures and sun exposure can be very dangerous, and if you're not taking precautions, you can end up with sunburns, heat exhaustion and serious medical problems. Here are a few things you need to do to make sure you're enjoying your summer!
Check the UV Index and Temperature
With information available to us instantly, it's easier than ever to stay on top of the weather. Checking the UV index can tell you what your risk factor is for sunburn before you go out, which can be a lifesaver if it's a cloudy day. Sunburns can still happen on overcast days, so always wear sunscreen when outdoors and wear a hat to help filter the UV rays.
You'll also want to know the temperature so you can plan ahead with water and sports drinks. On hot days, heat exhaustion becomes a real threat, especially if you aren't drinking enough. Packing a water bottle or two per person can help you avoid the symptoms that come with heat exhaustion. Staying hydrated is crucial during the hot summer months.
Stay in air conditioned locations as much as possible and don’t stay in a hot car. Remember to never leave pets or children in a parked car either. If you’re spending time outside, take breaks from the heat by taking cool showers, finding a shady spot, and using fans to clear hot air from your house.
On hot days, watch for signs of heat illness in yourself and others. Heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are possible on hot days. Signs of heat-related illness include:
- Muscle pains, cramps, or spasms.
- Heavy sweating, paleness, weakness, dizziness, headache nausea or vomiting.
- Confusion, fainting or unconsciousness.
- High body temperature (over 103 degrees) with dry skin (not sweating).
- Rapid pulse.
If you feel sick and suspect it may be heat-related, sip a sports drink. Get medical help if you still don’t feel better. If you experience very high body temperature, rapid pulse, or dizziness it can be an emergency. Get medical help immediately.
Make Healthy Snacks
Summer is the time when fruits and vegetables are abundant and thus cheaper, so it's a great idea to take advantage of healthy foods. With most fruits, you can find fun ways to serve them while still getting necessary vitamins and minerals. For example, you can make watermelon popsicles by blending seedless watermelon with lime juice and putting them into a popsicle mold, a great treat on a really hot day. For days spent indoors, a plate of apple slices and peanut butter with chocolate chips make for a fun serving of fruit nachos. Feel free to let your imagination run wild!
Grilled Salmon Salad with Avocado, Arugula, Cucumber, Pepitas, Cotija Cheese & Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing-perfect for summer barbecues and outdoor gatherings.
Roasted Vegetable Pasta is a great, light meal for those hot and humid summer evenings. Summer squash, cherry tomatoes, carrots are in season but you can make it with eggplant, peppers, or fennel. Some more in season fruits and veggies you can use can be found here: https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/resources/nutrition-education-materials/seasonal-produce-guide
Use the Pool Responsibly
Swimming pools are ideal for cooling off on hot days, but they can also be very dangerous. Every year, swimming accidents happen because someone uses the pool without supervision, resulting in serious injuries and worse.
The best way you can stay safe and prevent accidents is to ensure at least one adult who is a strong swimmer is always supervising any action around the pool. It's also a good idea to keep younger children and nonswimmers in the shallow end and provide proper protection, such as life vests and water wings.
Taking a few extra precautions to protect your health goes a long way towards everyone having as much summer fun as possible. By making sure you're prepared for the worst and getting the right foods into your diet, you'll make sure that you're having a fun, safe summer that you'll remember for years to come!