4 ways to stay safe on your summer vacation
Written By Lauren Glendenning
Brought to you by Kaiser Permanente
Lounging around a resort with all-inclusive food and drinks, sleeping in on a Tuesday, forgetting life’s daily stresses — these are just a few of the perks enjoyed on a summer vacation.
As the days get warmer and Coloradans start planning their summer trips, experts say it’s important to balance healthy habits with vacation activities while traveling. It’s easy to overlook some basic ways to stay safe while playing in the summer sun.
Here are a few ways to stay safe and healthy while taking that summer trip.
- Protect yourself from the sun and heat
Many vacations involve outdoor activities under powerful, harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends everyone use water-resistant sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher.
Wearing protective clothing and seeking shade, especially when the sun is strongest between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., is another way to stay safe, said Dr. Shannon Garton, family medicine physician with Kaiser Permanente’s Edwards Medical Offices.
“It is important to remain hydrated with water and electrolyte-replacing fluids,” she said. “Avoid strenuous activity during the heat of the day. Elderly and people with medical conditions may need to be especially cautious. Never leave a person unattended in a vehicle, even with windows rolled down in the shade.”
- Take precautions to prevent illness
Traveling in airports, train stations and other public areas means inevitable contact with germs. It’s important to bring along hand sanitizers and sanitizing wipes to keep hands clean, Garton said. It’s also important to wash off after water activities in pools, oceans, rivers or lakes, she said.
“If someone has a cut or an abrasion, going in these types of water should generally be avoided, and one has to be especially vigilant about not letting the wound get infected,” she said.
Mosquito-borne illnesses are also becoming more prevalent in tropical destinations. Zika virus and Dengue have occurred in the southern United States, and West Nile throughout the United States, Garton said. Using an insect repellent with Deet is considered most effective, but repellents such as eucalyptus oil, IR3535 and methyl nonyl ketone, can also work for mosquito protection.
- Be extra careful around bodies of water
Children especially need to be watched closely near water, Garton said. Even if there’s a lifeguard on duty, parents should never leave their children unattended. And anyone in the water should know how to swim, as well as make sure their swimming abilities are appropriate for that body of water.
“One should never be on a river without a personal floatation device. Even in a tube or raft, it is necessary to wear a life vest in addition,” Garton said. “If one is waterskiing, wakeboarding, jet skiing, etc., it is necessary to wear a life vest. When playing near water, it is dangerous to push, jump or wrestle with others, and if children are doing this, they should be told to stop.”
- Wear the right shoes
Garton said doctors see many injuries when people bike, skateboard, walk in the river or mow the lawn wearing only flip-flops.
“It is a temptation to go barefoot during the summer, but there is an increased risk of getting a splinter or stepping on a foreign object when doing this,” she said.
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