Top 10 summer health hazards you need to avoid

There are plenty of reasons to love summer: no school, sunny days, swimming, barbecues, fireworks, campfires, road trips, and late-nights enjoying time with your friends and family. While summer is (arguably) the best season of the year, it can be a little too easy to skimp on some basic health safety.
Summer should be fun. Make sure your sunny season stays happy by paying a little extra attention to these summer health hazards:
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1. Sunburns
One of the biggest health risks of summer is sunburn. Despite being extremely uncomfortable, sunburns can lead to skin cancer. Cancer Research UK reports that even getting one sunburn every two years can triple your risk of skin cancer. Always apply sunscreen about 30 minutes before going into the sun and reapply every two hours.
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2. Ticks
Tick bites can be harmless. The real risk comes from allergic reactions or the spread of disease. Ticks will happily attach themselves to humans or animals and embed themselves in the skin. After spending time in wooded areas always do a thorough check for ticks. Pay close attention to armpits, the groin, and hair.
If you spot a tick, remove it immediately by using tweezers to pull the tick straight out (do not twist or bend). Make sure all of the tick is removed and then clean the area with soap and water. Healthline recommends submerging the tick in alcohol and visiting a doctor to see if any additional treatment is needed.
3. Mosquitoes (and their diseases)
Like tick bites, most mosquito bites are fairly harmless (albeit itchy and annoying). However, mosquito bites can be dangerous if the bugs pass on viruses like West Nile or Encephalitis. The best way to avoid these type of viruses is to protect yourself from mosquito bites. One way to stay safe from mosquitoes is to choose the right plants from your yard. Check out a list of plants from DIY Everywhere.
4. Food borne illnesses
Barbecues and outdoor picnics are fun ways to enjoy the outdoors, but spending hours hunched over the puke bowl (or worse- in the hospital) is not how most people want their backyard festivities to end. Avoid food poisoning by ensuring your meats are cooked to the proper temperature, storing cooked foods at the proper temperature and discarding any questionable items.
-Keep hot foods stored at 140 degrees Fahrenheit
-Store cold foods at 40 degrees Fahrenheit
-Discard foods after 1 hour if left out in temperatures above 90 degrees.
5. Swimming hazards
One of summer's greatest joys is diving into a cold pool. But drowning presents a real hazard. Backyard pools should be gated (when possible) and an adult should supervise all young swimmers. If you opt to swim in a lake, make sure to check local reports or talk to a lifeguard about the water condition.
The Virginia Beach Emergency Medical Services recommends that swimmers in open waters pay attention to sandbars, skip night swimming and always swim in groups.
6. Swimmers ear
Swimmers ear is common in the summer, for obvious reason, it's most common in swimmers. The condition is actually an infection of the outer ear and includes itchiness, pain and swelling. You can prevent swimmer's ear by applying Vaseline to the outside of ears before heading to the pool. When you get out, apply a mixture of one part vinegar, one part rubbing alcohol after leaving the water.
7. Fire safety
Camp fires are a lot of fun. But they can be dangerous. Keep little ones away from fire pits and barbecues to avoid burns. In addition, you should make sure that the wood you choose to burn is safe. According to Rodale's Organic Life woods you should avoid burning include:
-Pressure treated woods
-Driftwood
-Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, Poison Sumac
- Mexican Elder
-Oleander
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8. Dehydration
Another health concern during the summer is dehydration. Too much fun in the sun can be dangerous. Signs of dehydration include thirst, dry mouth, no tears, fatigue, dark colored urine and confusion. You can combat dehydration by having a steady supply of water on hand, especially when you're planning for outdoor activities.
9. Poison ivy
More time playing outside and heading to the woods means more chances for exposure to Poison Ivy. This itchy rash is uncomfortable and in some conditions can be dangerous (particularly if you burn the plant an inhale the fumes). You can avoid contact by remembering "leaves of three, let it be." If you become exposed to the oils from the plant, use a strong soap and lots of friction to remove the oil from your skin as soon as possible.
10. Heat stroke/exhaustion
Outdoor fun in the sun is big benefit of summer weather, but it can also be bad for your health. Your body, like any machine, can get overheated. When your body is unable to dissipate the heat it produces by sweating, it can lead to heat exhaustion of heat stroke.
Symptoms to watch out for include:
-High body temperature (over 104 degrees Fahrenheit)
-Confusion or agitation
-Nausea and/or vomiting
-Very flushed or very pale skin
-Rapid, shallow breathing
-Rapid heart rate
-Headache
If you suspect heat stroke or heat exhaustion, find shade as quickly as possible, take a cool shower, spray with a cool hose and drink water. If you suspect heat stroke, get medical attention as quickly as possible.
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We want you to have a great summer (and a safe one!). Make sure your family and friends have a safe summer by sharing these tips with them on Facebook.
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