Velocity Care offers 5 things to consider before heading outdoors
The sunshine and sandy shores are beckoning. You can almost hear the waves crashing as you imagine the sun on your face and the sand between your toes. The days of summer are finally here – it’s vacation time.
While you're dreaming of all that fun in the sun, don’t forget: safety first – including your health safety. It’s important to be properly prepared for your trip to the great outdoors in order to keep you and your family safe. There’s more to the checklist than a swimsuit, flip-flops and a beach towel.
Here is a list of things to consider before heading outdoors this summer:
Where you decide to spend your relaxing summer day is crucial to your family’s safety. Never stray away from marked paths and never go out exploring alone. Choose a lifeguard-protected area to swim, and be sure you’re aware of hazards such as dams, underwater obstacles and rock formations. Also, pay attention to other activities going on around you, such as boating.
- Weather conditions.
It may be clear skies and sunshine, but weather conditions can change quickly. Make sure to check the weather report for lightning, high winds or pending heat waves. A body of water is the last place you want to be during a lightning storm, and high winds can cause rough water conditions and distort hiking trails. Excessively hot temperatures can cause a number of health issues too, from heat exhaustion to strokes and dehydration.
- Water conditions.
Natural water environments constantly move and change depending on the location and the weather. Checking out the current water conditions before your trip is always a good idea. The potential threats while swimming in lakes or rivers may seem minimal, but it’s still important to be aware of possible changes in aquatic life and vegetation in the area, sudden drop-offs in water depth and fast-moving currents, waves and rapids, even in shallow water.
Always accompany your children in the water, even if it’s just a few feet deep. Ensure inexperienced swimmers and children are always within arm’s length and consider coastguard-approved life jackets as a precautionary measure.
Ultraviolet rays from the sun can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes. Proper protection for a long day outside should be a no-brainer. You should apply sunscreen with at least 15 SPF liberally over exposed skin before heading outdoors and again after swimming, sweating, toweling off or if you’re out in the sun for more than two hours.
An umbrella or a small tent is always a good idea as well, especially if you have young children. Having shelter while outdoors is the easiest way to provide your skin with a bit of relief from the sun. Hats, sunglasses, cover-ups and extra T-shirts are other items you should consider packing to help prevent skin damage and sun poisoning during long summer days outside.
- Snacks and hydration.
Bring plenty of water and snacks for your trip, and don’t forget to use them! Long days out in the sun can easily lead to disorientation and reduced energy. The relaxing sounds of flowing water and the sunshine on your face may keep you occupied, but staying hydrated and fueled up will ensure a longer, happier day for you and your family.
The medical experts at Velocity Care Urgent Treatment Center want you and your family to stay healthy and safe this summer. And remember, if you or a family member begins to feel sick from long periods of sun exposure, it may be dehydration or sun poisoning. Don’t hesitate to visit a Velocity Care walk-in clinic near you with any questions or concerns you may have.
Photo credit: 123RF Stock Photo
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