Summer Safety: Tips For Staying Cool, Safe and Protected
Written by: Olivia Abbatiello, Phoenix Communications Fellow
When summer arrives, activities like outdoor barbecues, sitting in the sun, or going to see some fireworks at the beach can be part of the seasonal fun. Avoiding hazards can help ensure that these remain safe and enjoyable. From preventing burn injuries to keeping healing wounds and scarred areas protected in the sun, here are some tips for staying safe while partaking in all your favorite summertime activities!
All burn injuries are exceptionally sensitive to the sun, even those are that fully healed. According to MSKTC, the skin is susceptible to burning in a shorter amount of time and protection is key to prevent sunburn, which can last up to a year after exposure. The sun can also cause hyperpigmentation in healing wounds and scarred areas, meaning pigment in the affected area can become permanently darker than the rest of the skin. Stay safe and protected with the following tips:
- Wear sun protective clothing while out in the sun. However, not all fabrics and clothing are protective. Specialized, sun-protective clothing are becoming more available at sporting stores and online.
- Whenever possible, find a shady area or take a break inside to reduce overall sun exposure. It is nearly impossible to stay out of the sun, but you can be mindful of when you are outside. The sun is strongest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., even if it’s cloudy.
- For some burn survivors, damaged sweat glands and scarred areas mean temperature regulation is difficult. Limit time in the heat to avoid heat exhaustion.
- Always wear sunscreen, all day and all year. Be sure to use a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and that is water-resistant – and don’t forget to reapply at least every two hours!
The NFPA reports that fireworks cause approximately 18,500 fires per year. Consumer fireworks are illegal in many areas and injuries occur mostly to children. It is best to keep the firework shows to the professionals, who are protected, trained and often supported by local fire departments in case of any emergencies. Sparklers, which many times are advertised to children, reach a temperature of 1200 degrees Fahrenheit, 300 degrees hotter than the melting point of glass. While fireworks can be a great celebration of holidays and special events, it is never a good idea to take them into your own hands and risk injuring yourself or those around you.
According to the NFPA, grill-related fires occur the most in the month of July. With 70% of households in the United States owning grills, it is pertinent for safety precautions to be taken in order to avoid not only burns but also house fires. Injuries and fires caused by grilling accidents are avoidable as long as the proper steps are taken to enjoy your summer barbecue safely.
- Propane and charcoal grills should be used only outside in a safe, open area free of hazards. Be sure to stay away from overhanging tree branches or other debris.
- Keep children and animals away from the grill at all times. Kids and pets should alsonever play near the grill. Consider making a “kids-free zone” of at least three feet around the grill.
- Never leave a grill unattended and be sure to set your grill on a flat surface and consider using a pad to help stabilize it.
- Always be prepared and keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
This summer be sure to stay aware of your surroundings while enjoying your favorite warm-weather activities. Wear sunscreen, protect existing wounds, clean your grill and help prevent fires and burns by staying attentive in any of the aforementioned situations - and always have fun!
For more information or support, please contact Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors.