Summertime in Arkansas brings warmth, sun and fun. From going on hikes and lake weekends to family picnics and time at the pool, there’s always something fun to do outdoors. Unfortunately, many of these activities also bring safety concerns that should always be considered. Enjoy your summer while adding appropriate safety measures into the mix!
Sun SafetyThere are two main concerns that come from spending a lot of time in the sun: protecting your skin from the sun’s rays to prevent skin cancer and avoiding overexposure to extreme heat, leading to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
- Wear daily sunscreen that protects from UVA & UVB rays and is at least SPF 30 – even if it’s cloudy outside
- Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside and reapply every 2 hours or after swimming
- Seek shade when it’s appropriate. The sun’s rays are harshest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Wear sunglasses that block 99-100% of UV rays
- Ensure you’re drinking plenty of water
- Wear lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing
- Watch closely for heat exhaustion and heat stroke, including dizziness, nausea, rapid pulse and confusion
Water SafetySwimming is a hugely popular pastime in the summer. Having some basic swimming skills can come in handy at the pool, lake or beach—they could even save your life. You should also keep these tips in mind!
- Don’t go swimming alone. Even great swimmers can run into trouble
- Get out of the water immediately if you hear thunder or see lightning
- Children and inexperienced swimmers should always wear life jackets
- Always monitor children near the water (even if they are wearing a life jacket)
- Don’t fight the current. Swim with it and inch toward land
- Avoid diving into unknown water or shallow depths
- Avoid foam, scum, algae, or flocks of waterfowl
Food and Grill SafetyPicnics, cookouts and grilling are some of the most fun parts of summer. Just remember these tips to keep from harm around the grill and ensure your food stays fresh enough to eat safely.
- Rinse and scrub fruits and vegetables
- Don’t thaw meat on the counter or in hot water
- Be sure meat is cooked to the proper internal temperature. Use a meat thermometer!
- Keep hot foods hot (over 140 degrees) and cold foods cold (no more than 40 degrees)
- Never use a grill indoors or in enclosed areas
- Never use gasoline when starting a charcoal fire
- Never start a gas grill with the cover closed
Insect SafetySunny summer days are the perfect time for outdoor fun. But they also bring an increased risk of tick bites, mosquito bites and other insect issues—and the diseases they can carry. Here’s how to help prevent bites and what to do if you are bitten.
- For bites & stings, wash with soap & water immediately & apply a cold compress
- Avoid scratching bites to decrease risk of infection
- Sudden onset of fever, nausea, headache, muscle pain or rash after a tick bite? See a physician
- Always inspect yourself after being in wooded areas, especially where ticks are known to exist
- Use insect repellent with DEET on skin & Permethrin on clothes & gear
- Wear shoes, long-sleeved shirts & long pants in light colors when you go outside