Summer Safety Checklist

Preventing Summer Injuries & Illnesses

Although the summertime brings plenty of fun in the sun, it also brings on the potential for certain injuries and illnesses. Fortunately, there are things you can do to safeguard your health all summer long. Here’s what you should know.

Concussions & Head Injuries

A concussion is a mild type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body. When this happens, the brain bounces around within the skull, resulting in chemical changes in the brain that can damage brain cells.

Signs & Symptoms

Even though concussions are considered “mild” brain injuries, they can be dangerous if left unaddressed. Some of the most commonly reported and observed symptoms of a concussion include:

  • Trouble recalling events before the incident.
  • Being dizzy or disoriented.
  • Moving clumsily.
  • Slow responses during conversation.
  • Losing consciousness.
  • Showing a change in mood, behavior, and personality.
  • Feeling pressure in the head.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Light and sound sensitivity.
  • Feeling tired and sluggish.

Prevention

Children and teens are at an increased risk of sustaining a concussion. However, there are a few ways you can help to minimize that risk:

  • Wear a snug-fitting helmet that is appropriate for your activity.
  • Wear a seatbelt in the car.
  • Ensure car seats and booster seats are properly secured.
  • Avoid roughhousing on hard surfaces like grass.

Accidental Drowning

According to the CDC, about 10 people die every day from an unintentional drowning incident—making drowning the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death in the United States. With such high statistics, it is important to do what you can to prevent water-related injuries.

Prevention

To help prevent accidental drownings and other water-related injuries, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Always supervise children and teens in the water.
  • Stay hydrated while swimming.
  • No running or roughhousing by the water’s edge.
  • No diving into pools.
  • Avoid alcohol consumption when swimming.
  • Wear a life jacket when boating.

Heat-related Illnesses

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is a heat-related illness that happens when your body overheats, usually due to high temperatures outside. Symptoms that may suggest heat exhaustion include:

  • Heavy sweating.
  • Cold, pale, clammy skin.
  • Nausea with or without vomiting.
  • Muscle cramping.
  • Fatigue and weakness.
  • Dizziness.
  • Headache.
  • Losing consciousness.

Heat Stroke

If heat exhaustion goes unaddressed, it can lead to having a heat stroke. Commonly reported signs and symptoms of a heat stroke include:

  • A body temperature of 103°F or higher.
  • Hot, red, damp, or dry skin.
  • Having a fast, strong pulse.
  • Headache.
  • Dizziness.
  • Nausea with or without vomiting.
  • Losing consciousness.

Because heat stroke is a medical emergency, it is important that you call 911 immediately and move the affected person to a cool place while you wait for emergency services to arrive.

Prevention

As the temperature continues to heat up during the summer, the following tips can help to keep you cool and prevent your body from overheating:

  • Stay hydrated.
  • Stay inside with air conditioning when you can.
  • Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing.
  • Stay in shaded areas when outdoors.
  • Avoid alcohol use on hotter days.
  • Don’t leave anyone in a parked car on a hot day.

Food Poisoning

Food poisoning is an infection or disease that is contracted by eating food that has been contaminated with illness-causing germs and bacteria. Because the summertime brings plenty of backyard barbeques and buffet-style festivities, food poisoning is increasingly common this time of year.

Signs & Symptoms

While food poisoning symptoms can range in severity from mild to serious depending on the germs you’ve ingested, symptoms typically include:

  • Upset stomach.
  • Stomach cramping.
  • Nausea with or without vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Fever.

If you notice any of the following symptoms, you should seek medical attention from your primary care provider:

  • Blood in your stool.
  • A fever of 102° or higher.
  • Diarrhea lasting more than 3 days.
  • Feeling dizzy when standing.

Prevention

To prevent food poisoning from affecting you and your loved ones, keep these food safety tips in mind this summer:

Sunburn

While soaking up the summer sun can be relatively harmless in small amounts, excessive sun exposure can be harmful to your skin and kill off your skin cells. The immediate damage can lead to sunburn—which is an inflammatory response to ultraviolet (UV) radiation damage to the skin’s outer layers.

Signs & Symptoms

Common signs and symptoms of sunburn include:

  • Changes in skin tone, becoming red or pink in color.
  • Skin feeling warm or hot to the touch.
  • Pain and tenderness of the skin.
  • Swelling of the skin.
  • Headache.
  • Fever.
  • Fatigue.

Prevention

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, you’ve had a history of 5 or more sunburns—your risk of developing melanoma doubles. This makes it especially important to do what you can to protect your skin, not only during the summer but year-round. Follow these tips to prevent sunburn:

  • Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen.
  • Choose a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
  • Wear protective clothing like pants and long sleeves when you can.
  • Wear sunglasses with UV protection.
  • Spend time in shaded areas when outdoors.
  • Wear brimmed hats.
  • Pay attention to the UV index when checking the weather.

Primary Care in Ridgecrest, California

At Ridgecrest Regional Hospital, our team of highly trained and experienced family physicians and internists is dedicated to providing healthcare services to patients of all ages in Ridgecrest and surrounding areas.

To learn more about our pediatric care services or schedule an appointment, visit our website or give us a call at (760) 446-3551 (Mon-Fri 8 AM-4:30 PM).