Summer is a great time to build up your fitness program, enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, take a vacation, and have fun. It’s also a time to pay attention to your health and safety. Below are tips to help you stay safe and healthy this summer and all year long.
In 2006, males were three times more likely than females to die from unintentional drownings in the United States. Alcohol use is involved in up to half of adolescent and adult deaths associated with water recreation.
- Learn how to swim. Never swim alone.
- Wear your life jacket while boating.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages while boating.
- Watch children in and around water.
- If you have a swimming pool at your home, install a four-sided isolation pool fence.
Keep your cool in the sun.
Sun protection is important all year round, not just during the summer or at the beach. Take steps to help prevent skin cancer and other conditions. Heat-related deaths and illness are preventable, yet many people succumb to extreme heat each year. Take steps to lower your risk for heat-related illness.
- When possible, avoid outdoor activities during midday, when the sun’s rays are strongest.
- Cover up with clothing and a wide-brimmed hat to protect exposed skin.
- Drink plenty of cool, non-alcoholic fluids.
- Seek shade.
- Wear sunscreen and lip screen with a sun protective factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. Remember to reapply it as needed.
Leave fireworks to the professionals.
Males are injured by fireworks about three times as often as females. About 47% (nearly half) of persons injured from fireworks are young people under twenty years of age. Injuries are most commonly associated with fire-crackers, sparklers, and bottle rockets.
- Leave firework displays to trained professionals.
- Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- If using fireworks, have a fire extinguisher nearby in case of a fire.
- Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
Males are at increased risk for some injuries and conditions. Motor vehicle traffic, poisonings, drownings, and falls are the leading causes of unintentional injury deaths for males ages 15-44.
- Wear a safety belt every time you drive or ride in a motor vehicle.
- Buckle your child using a child safety seat, booster seat, or safety belt appropriate for his/her age and size.
- Never drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or let someone drive who is.
- Wear a helmet when riding a bike or motorcycle, skating, or playing in contact sports.
Fight the bite.
To lower your risk for West Nile Virus, avoid mosquito bites when you spend time outside working or playing. The risk of severe illness and death is highest for people over 50 years old, although people of all ages can become ill.
- Use mosquito repellent.
- Install or repair window and door screens.
- Eliminate mosquito breeding sites.
Practice proper pet care.
Your relationship with your pet enriches your life. However, there are a few important tips to keep in mind when you own a pet. Some animals can carry germs that may be transmitted to people.
- Pick the right pet for your family.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after petting your pet.
- Get your pet early, regular, and life-long veterinary care.
- Prevent ticks on dogs and cats.
- Teach children how to properly care for pets.
- Spay and neuter your pets.
Prevent sexually transmitted infections.
Sexually transmitted infections, including HIV and AIDS, remain a major challenge in the United States. In 2005, almost three quarters of HIV/AIDS diagnoses were for male adolescents and adults.
- The surest way to avoid transmission is to abstain from sexual intercourse.
- Be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and is known to be uninfected.
- Use latex condoms. Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, can reduce the risk of transmission of certain diseases.
- Get tested.
Eat healthy and safe foods.
Whether you plan to grill on the patio or picnic in the park, be sure to eat balanced meals with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables have important vitamins, minerals, and fiber that help protect you from some chronic diseases.
- Eat plenty fruits and vegetables daily.
- Wash your hands before eating or preparing food.
- Cook all foods to the proper temperatures.
- Refrigerate foods promptly.
- Handle and prepare food safely.
Be physically active.
The summer is a great time to play outdoor games, garden, or walk. Start a new routine that combines fun and physical activity. Active people are less likely than inactive people to be obese or to have high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, coronary artery disease and stroke, depression, colon cancer, and premature death.
- Adults should get 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity most, preferably all, days of the week.
- Children and adolescents should participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity most, preferably all, days of the week.
- Start at an easy pace and increase time and distance gradually.
- Don’t overdo it. Prevent injuries.
Take steps to prepare yourself and your family for severe weather and natural disasters before they happen. Learn how to cope and recover when disaster strikes.
- Make an emergency plan and stock supplies ahead of time. Review your options.
- Learn about your community’s emergency plans, warning signals, evacuation routes, and locations of emergency shelters.
- Identify potential home hazards, and know how to secure or protect them before a disaster strikes.
- Know beforehand what common reactions may occur to help your ability to cope. Accept your own reactions and those of people around you.
- Locate and secure your important papers, including insurance policies, wills, licenses, passports, and birth certificates.