The summer is here, and it’s going to be an interesting one for a lot of people. Summer 2020 meant social distancing and avoiding big social activities. Now, with so many people vaccinated, this could mean that there are parties, celebrations, and a lot of fun to be had.
While that all sounds great, the summer can be a dangerous time of year, and there are certain hazards to be aware of that you don’t have to worry about during other seasons.
The following is a breakdown of some of the big summer hazards and how to stay safe.
Annually, there are thousands of boating accidents and hundreds of deaths. Boating accidents also lead to thousands of injuries and millions of dollars in property damage. By understanding some of the primary causes of boat accidents, you’re in a better position to avoid them. These causes include:
- Not paying attention. Anyone operating a boat should make safety their top priority, and when they don’t and they’re distracted, the outcome can be deadly, just like it can if you aren’t paying attention when you’re driving a car. A boat operator should be focused at all times when they’re operating the vessel. If you’re not looking out for your surroundings and you’re operating a boat, you could hit something or even someone.
- Inexperienced operators: You might think that you can handle a boat, but if you don’t have experience in different situations, it can be challenging. This is especially true if you’re going to boat on the ocean. Before you operate a boat, it’s a very good idea to take a boater education course.
- Recklessness: There is a myriad of reckless behaviors that can lead to boat accidents and risks. Speeding is a good example, as is putting too many people on a boat. People falling overboard is actually the second-leading cause of boating deaths too.
- Alcohol: Alcohol could fall into the category of recklessness, but it’s something that’s worth mentioning on its own. You legally can’t drink and operate a boat, and if you do, you could be arrested and face criminal charges. Even if you aren’t arrested, you could end up putting yourself, your passengers, and other people on the water at risk.
Along with boating accidents, the water, in general, can be unsafe if you aren’t mindful and careful. The World Health Organization says that drownings are the third leading cause of unintentional injury deaths throughout the world.
In 2016, there were around 320,000 drowning deaths. In the U.S., there are around 10 drowning deaths a day, and 1 in 5 are in children under the age of 14. Drowning is a major cause of death for young children between the ages of one and four.
Whenever someone is swimming, there should be proper supervision. If you have a home that has a pool, you should make sure that it’s fully secured with a barrier or fence and that there’s an alarm to let you know if the pool door is accessed.
You shouldn’t ever leave a child alone, even for a second with water nearby.
It’s also a good idea to learn CPR and also to have children start taking swim lessons at an early age.
Swimming in the ocean comes with its own set of risks, such as powerful rip currents.
You should only swim at beaches where a lifeguard is on duty.
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, and more than one million people are diagnosed every year. Take steps to keep your skin healthy and protected each summer.
Skin cancer is more common if you have light hair and eyes, are older than 50, or have a family member who has had skin cancer.
You should wear sunscreen and avoid the parts of the day when the sun is strongest, which is mid-day. You should also do a self-screen for any suspicious moles every few months and see a dermatologist annually for a check-up.
While it sounds like an unlikely risk, the number of shark-related accidents seems to be growing. Most attacks occur in the water nearshore, usually between sandbars. This is where sharks feed and they can get trapped there at low tide.
Places that have steep-drop offs can also be areas of attack because this is where a shark’s natural food sources gather. If you’re using a flotation device, you’re more at risk of an attack based on data from recent years.
You can become sick from foodborne illnesses any time of year, but the risks are higher during the summer months. People are barbecuing, picnicking, and having parties. The warm weather can promote the growth of dangerous organisms, increasing the potential for contamination. Foodborne bacteria tend to grow fastest when temperatures are between 90 and 110 degrees.
During summer, there’s more cooking outdoors which means that you might not use the same food safety methods you would use indoors, such as frequent hand-washing and refrigeration. You should always keep your cooked and raw foods separate to prevent cross-contamination. Thoroughly clean any produce before you cut and prepare it.
If you have perishables or leftovers, they should never be out any longer than two hours. For most people, food poisoning will clear up on its own, but it can be dangerous for people with compromised immune systems, pregnant women and the elderly.
Finally, dehydration can be dangerous and even deadly. You can experience dehydration no matter the time of year, but it tends to be more common in the summer. A heatstroke is a severe form of dehydration that occurs when your internal temperature gets too high. Your skin is hot but you aren’t sweating. You can faint, have hallucinations, or even experience seizures.
To avoid dehydration and heatstroke, be mindful of your fluid intake. You should also try to be outdoors and doing activities when the heat isn’t as strong, such as in the early morning.