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Have more fun this season by protecting yourself from these common summer dangers.

Summer is the ideal time to relax, explore and be adventurous. But if you’re not careful, it’s also a time when you may experience hazards that can make you sick or cause injury. Don’t let potential health risks ruin a good time. Instead, take a few precautions to make sure that your summer days and nights are filled with nothing but smiles and happy memories.

Here are some common summer health risks – and what you can do to make sure they don’t sideline your summer fun:

Heat Illnesses

One common summer health risk occurs when temperatures soar. Extreme heat makes many people feel sick and sends more than 65,000 people to the emergency room each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Not only can high heat make you feel miserable, but heat exhaustion and heat stroke can be dangerous and even deadly. To prevent heat illness, avoid spending a lot of time outdoors when it’s very hot out, especially if you have a medical condition. Stay indoors in air conditioning, when possible. If you are outside, seek out shade and limit activity. Stay well hydrated.

Water Injuries

Jumping into a lake, ocean or pool can be glorious. But if you’re not careful, it can also be hazardous. Make sure you know what you’re jumping into before you head in so you’re not suddenly surprised by hazards lurking under the surface. Don’t dive into water unless you know how deep it is. Always swim with a buddy or in an area with lifeguards. Be sure to supervise young children near any water, no matter how shallow. Avoid swallowing water, which can be brimming with germs that can make you sick.

Insect Bites and Stings

It’s fun to go hiking or spend time in nature, but remember that bugs live there, too. Ticks, mosquitos and bees can bite and sting, causing pain and ruining your fun. Some insects may also transmit serious illnesses. To protect yourself, use insect repellant and wear long sleeves and pants when you’re in areas prone to ticks and mosquitoes. Check yourself and your pets for ticks after being outdoors. If you know you’re allergic to bee stings, carry an epi-pen or appropriate medication to treat a potential reaction.

Sun Damage

You may think it’s no big deal if you get an occasional sunburn, but every sunburn you get increases your risk of skin cancer. It also contributes to skin damage and causes wrinkles, sunspots and dry skin. Some burns are severe enough to require medical treatment, although most will just cause temporary pain and discomfort. The best way to avoid sun damage is to limit your time in the sun and wear sunscreen every day, even when it’s cloudy out. Use a broad-spectrum water resistant sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and reapply every two hours or after swimming. Also protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses.


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Date Last Reviewed: April 18, 2024

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD

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