The recipe for summer fun looks a little something like this: one-third preparation, one-third spontaneity and one-third awesome people to share it all.
If only staying safe this summer were that simple. Between bug bites, sunburns and the waves of nausea that erupt during long car trips, parts of summer can feel like one big hot, itchy, queasy roller-coaster ride.
Of course, that's no excuse to stay indoors, hunkered down in front of the window air conditioner, especially with Memorial Day beckoning next week.
Read on for 10 tips to make this summer memorable for all the good times, not the summer bummers that bring trips to the emergency room:
Tip 1: Know what drowning actually looks like.
Drowning is the fifth-leading cause of
unintentional injury death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Twenty percent of those drowning deaths involve children.
It doesn't look like the movies. In most cases, people who are drowning won't be able to call out. Their body might not flop up and down and their mouth might bob above the surface. From a distance, they might appear to be safely treading water. But if they can't answer questions or if their eyes seem glassy or unfocused, they actually might be drowning.
Inflatable baby pools, bathtubs and even deep buckets that a child could fall into also can be dangerous. Stay within an arm's reach of a child who can't swim.
Tip 2: You can actually fall off a bike.
Helmets aren't just for kids on bikes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, bicycle helmets are 85 percent effective in reducing brain injuries. Unfortunately, only about 20 to 25 percent of all cyclists wear them.
Fit is important. Never wear another hat under a bike helmet. It should be worn level and also cover the forehead. Think of the helmet like bangs – you don't want your forehead showing. Straps should always be fastened and snug enough so the helmet doesn't move when you do.
If it's been a while since you've ridden, consider a cycling class offered by members of the White Clay Bicycle Club. It will be held 6-8:30 p.m. May 28 at the WILMPACO building in Newark. Register by Friday by sending an email to email@example.com or calling (302) 528-1773.
Tip 3: Don't leave kids or pets inside a car, even for just a few minutes.
Each summer, about 36 kids across the country die from heat-related deaths after being left inside a hot car. Children are more sensitive to heat than adults, which means it doesn't take long for them to feel the effects of heat exhaustion. The effect is amplified in a car, which acts like a greenhouse, trapping sunlight and heat inside.
Even on a mild, 80-degree day, a child's body temperature can reach as high as 106 degrees Fahrenheit in half an hour if left inside a car. Children's bodies can lose the ability to cool themselves at these temperatures, leading to dehydration, heat stroke, seizures and even death.
Tip 4: Ticks don't just hang out in the woods.
Delaware consistently has one of the highest incidence rates of Lyme disease in the nation. It's also 1 of 13 states where 95 percent of all cases were reported, according the CDC. Delaware had more than 500 confirmed cases of Lyme disease last year, according to the Delaware Division of Public Health. (Other tick-borne illnesses such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and ehrlichiosis can also occur here, but are diagnosed much less frequently.)
But you don't have to be hiking in dense woods to come into contact with a tick. Backyards can be tick territory as well, and pets also can inadvertently carry them into the home, where they land on a human host.
When outdoors, protect key parts of your body. Ticks like to feed behind the ears, on the back of the neck, armpits, groin and behind the knees. If you see a tick on your body, use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers to pull it out. Grasp the head of the tick and pull it straight out.
Tip 5: Skip the greasy spoon on the long car ride.
For all those kids out there who complain about a long car ride next to an annoying sibling, know there's something worse out there – a long car ride next to an annoying sibling suffering from car sickness.
Car sickness is a type of motion sickness that occurs when the brain receives conflicting information from the ears, eyes and nerves, all of which help the body perceive motion. This information mix-up can result in an upset stomach, cold sweat, fatigue, dizziness or vomiting.
For reasons doctors aren't sure, children ages 2 to 12 are particularly susceptible. If that's the case for your brood, avoid spicy, greasy or heavy foods before setting out on a long car trip. Encourage them to look at things outside the car – looking at the horizon can help – and keep them from reading or staring at a screen for too long, which can aggravate motion sickness.
Tip 6: Don't drink the pool water.
It's not the kind of thing people want to think about when cannonballing into the water, but swallowing pool water contaminated with fecal matter can make you sick. It's not that most people are chugging pool water, but some of us inadvertently gulp some while diving in or making our way to the bottom of the slide.
Chlorine in swimming pools kills most of the germs that make people sick, but some germs take longer to kill, even with the chemical. So, if you've had a bout of diarrhea, skip a trip to the pool for everyone's sake.
The risk of illness highlights the importance of safe handling of pool chemicals used to keep those waters germ-free. Injuries from pool chemicals led to nearly 5,000 emergency room visits in 2012, according to a study released last week by the CDC. Nearly half of those injuries were in children and teens.
Tip 7: Keep drinking – but not alcohol.
Fluids, fluids and more fluids – they are the secret weapon to making it through a steamy day outdoors. Avoid sugar-sweetened and highly caffeinated beverages and alcohol because they cause the body to release fluids, adding to dehydration.
Some people are more prone to dehydration, including those older than 65, infants and children younger than 4, and people taking diuretics, blood pressure and heart rate medication. They might release fluids more rapidly. And don't ignore the warning signs of dehydration – a dry, sticky mouth, lethargy, headaches, muscle cramps and dizziness.
Tip 8 Bees like your new perfume just as much as you do.
Well, at least you know you smell good. But if a bee has mistaken you for a nearby flower, ice is probably your best bet. A credit card or another blunt-edged object can be used to scrape the stinger out if it's still lodged in the skin. If the skin gets itchy, try some calamine lotion or check with your doctor to see if an antihistamine might be appropriate.
Bee stings typically hurt for a bit, but if you've been stung and notice your face, tongue or throat is swelling, if you're having trouble breathing or if you feel dizzy or faint, you might be having an allergic reaction. Seek immediate medical help.
Originally shared to: DelawareOnline.com