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Published on July 20, 2018

Stay Safe in Warm Weather

The summer months are prime time for swimming and soaking up sunshine. While your family is out enjoying the warm weather, it’s important to take precautions to keep everyone safe and well in the summer heat.

Swimming

The threat of drowning exists for swimmers of all ages. Jessica Thomas, a nurse practitioner with UNC Primary Care at Goldsboro, recommends the following for safe swimming:

  • Learn how to swim through certified swimming lessons.
  • Only swim in areas with a lifeguard on duty.
  • Never swim alone.
  • Always supervise children when swimming.
  • Have inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around bodies of water.
  • Surround your home pool with an enclosed fence and alarm system.
  • Establish pool rules, including “no diving” and “no running.”
  • Check the depth before diving, and avoid diving head first into natural bodies of water.
  • Take CPR courses.

Another important swimming safety topic is rip currents. “Rip currents account for most of the rescues performed by beach lifeguards,” said Thomas. “If you are caught in a rip current, do not fight it. Stay calm, and don’t waste your energy struggling.”

Thomas suggests swimming parallel to the shore until you feel the current release. Then you can swim toward the shore. If the force of the current is too strong, tread water and float in the current until it weakens. Wave your arms and call for help if needed.

“Remember to check the conditions of the water before swimming by asking a lifeguard or looking for warning flags,” says Thomas.

Sunning

Safe sunning is about more than keeping your skin healthy and young. You can avoid burns by limiting sun exposure, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

“Be sure to wear sunscreen with at least SPF 15, even on cloudy days, and remember to reapply often,” says Thomas. “Brimmed hats, sunglasses, and lip balm with SPF are also important things to wear in the sun.”

The higher the temperature, the higher the risk for heat related illness. Heat exhaustion could quickly escalate to heat stroke if the proper steps are not taken. Thomas says, “it’s important to limit your time and activity outside and to stay hydrated when temperatures are high.”

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion:

  • Cramps
  • Profuse sweating
  • Flushed skin
  • Heavy breathing
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness

If someone is exhibiting the symptoms of heat exhaustion, move him or her to a cooler place immediately. Remove extra clothing and apply cool water to the skin. If he or she is conscious, offer small amounts of cool water to drink.

Symptoms of Heat Stroke:

  • Hot, dry skin
  • Lack of sweat
  • Skin redness
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Seizure
  • Unconsciousness

If someone is exhibiting the symptoms of heat stroke, call 911 and move the person to a cooler area immediately. Apply cold water to the skin and ice packs to the groin and armpit areas while waiting for emergency medical personnel.

Our providers at Wayne UNC Health Care & UNC Physicians Network wish you a happy and healthy summer!

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