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Suggestions to help make summer safer

June 16, 2012
Submitted by Carol Tomlinson, RN BS, community health educator for HealthLink Littauer , For The Leader Herald

We all have memories of fun-filled summer days when school was out and we could swim, ride our bikes, camp out and enjoy the beautiful Adirondack weather. Summer in Fulton County is still a beautiful time of year most of us look forward to, but we also need to be prepared for the unique health and safety issues of our warmer months. Every summer many people end up in the Emergency Department for treatment of any number of summer ailments - burns, cuts, food poisoning, heat exhaustion and of course pesky mosquito and tick ailments, to name a few. Here are some suggestions to make your summer safer and more enjoyable.

1) Drink plenty of cool, not ice-cold (non-alcoholic) fluids, especially on hot days. Many medications can contribute to dehydration. Check with your doctor on the amount of fluid you should be drinking if you are on medication.

2) Protect yourself from the sun and be sure to wear a hat. Avoid the midday sun, apply sunscreen frequently on all exposed skin and wear sunglasses to protect your eyes. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to see if any of the medications you use should restrict your time in the sun.

3) Be careful of the foods you eat, how they are prepared and how they have been stored. Beware of undercooked meats and foods left outside or not refrigerated.

4) Restrict your activity on very hot and humid days. As we age our bodies do not adjust as well to extremes in temperature or humidity, and some medications can impair the body's ability to regulate its temperature.

5) Treat equipment with respect, including lawn mowers, weed eaters, saws and ladders. Wear appropriate clothing and sturdy shoes, shut off engines before refueling and clean the work area of debris.

6) Take care to use insect repellents safely. Remember to spray outdoors or in a well-ventilated area.

7) Be prepared for summer storms and power outages. Flash lights with working batteries are a must and a battery-operated radio will help keep you aware of emergency information. Don't forget to have a reserve supply of drinking water and food supplies to last from one to three days.

8) If you live alone, make sure a neighbor, friend or relative knows where you are when a storm approaches. Set up a plan to alert someone if you need assistance should phones not work.

9) Ticks and mosquitoes can cause major health issues. Keep lawns mowed, litter picked up and objects that can hold rain water clean and dry. The ground area under bird feeders should be kept clean so it won't attract small animals that can carry ticks.

10) Make sure to carry a small emergency first aid kit with you.

For more information, call HealthLink Littauer at 736-1120, send an email to, visit its website at, or visit its wellness center at 213 Harrison St. Ext. in Johnstown, on Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.



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