Summer fun more enjoyable when safe

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Paul Fernandez
  • 99th Air Base Wing Safety

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev.—Summer is hot, especially in Las Vegas.

While summer is a time for fun in the sun; it is also a time that you can get burned.

Whether out in the sun playing sports, hiking, grilling or at the pool, remaining safe is not always in the forefront of people’s minds. When participating in activities this summer let’s all stay safe by remembering a few important safety tips.

The sun is not your friend, while in the heat, it is imperative to be aware of heat-related illnesses. According to various medical articles heat-related illnesses are: sunburn, heat cramps, heat rash, heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

• Sunburn symptoms include redness of skin, pain or tenderness, and headaches.

• Heat cramps symptoms include flushed, moist skin and mild fever.

• Heat rash is recognized by red bumps on the skin.

• Heat exhaustion is identified by heavy sweating, muscle cramps, fatigue, weakness, cold or clammy skin, dizziness, nausea or vomiting and fainting.

• Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke which can be associated with mental injuries such as stroke.

Remember to hydrate, ventilate, cover up, drink plenty of water, keep air circulating and wear loose fitting clothing.

The hottest part of the day in Las Vegas is between noon and 8 p.m., and during this time it is best to avoid participating in outdoor activities in direct sunlight.

If you will be in the sun the American Academy of Dermatology recommends to apply sunblock of SPF 30 or higher approximately every two hours, and more often if you will be in and out of the water.

Children are especially susceptible to sunburns, and for this reason they should have a minimum of SPF 30 sunblock applied liberally as their skin is still developing. Babies under the age of six months should avoid direct sun exposure when possible and dress in clothing that covers their skin.

Sports are exciting and benefit physical fitness in many ways, but injuries such as fractures, sprains and strains can occur while playing your favorite game.

Risk management, personal protective equipment and situational awareness are key to a safe game. Remember to always walk the field before playing a game, look for any tripping hazards and ensure protective padding is in good condition.

Personal protective equipment must be checked prior to the game to ensure that equipment is sanitary, serviceable, and appropriately fitted. While playing the game, remember not to become so focused on what you are doing that you lose track of where you are, be aware of your surroundings.

The water is a cool experience, swimming at the pool or boating are wonderful ways to spend time this summer.

First, if you are around the water, know how to swim. Remember the ABC and Ds of drowning prevention: adult supervision, barriers (for your pool), classes, and devices (life jackets and rescue tools).

When boating, even if you are a good swimmer, wear a life jacket and remember to check weather conditions before heading out. Bring a buddy with you and always tell someone where you’re going and have scheduled check in times. Remember, it is never a good idea to drink alcohol in excess while participating in water activities.

As temperatures increase, we may forget how hot it may become in our vehicles.

Remember to never leave children and pets unattended, even if the car is running and the air conditioner is turned on. According to the National Weather Service an outside temperature of 80 degrees will heat up to 99 degrees in ten minutes and after another 10 minutes it will heat up to 109 degrees.

A definite hot spot is the grill, the National Fire Protection Association recommends to never leave your grill unattended and that kids and pets should be kept away.

Before using the grill make sure the gas connections are tight. A safe way to check for potential leaks is to apply a soap and water solution to the connection, turn the grill on and if there are any leaks you will see small bubbles. Tighten connections if you see any bubbles. Once the grill is on always utilize long tongs and gloves to prevent burns and heat exposure. After using the grill ensure that the propane or gas is turned off.

Staying safe this summer is a priority, particularly in Las Vegas’s hot environment.

Remember that the sun is not your friend, wear sunblock and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

Sports are fun and exciting, but remember to play it safe by utilizing risk management, wearing personal protective equipment, and maintaining situational awareness. The water is a dangerous place, always bring a buddy and refrain from drinking alcohol in excess while poolside or out to sea.

Keep animals and children safe by never leaving them unattended in a vehicle and keeping them away from the grill.

While having fun this summer, keep safety on your mind.