Exercise Expert

6 Summer Safety Tips

Amanda Page May 24th, 2013 (updated Jun 11th, 2014)
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The hot days of summer are upon us and with them come a new set of health hazards – some a little surprising. Here’s a summer safety guide to help you avoid stings, sprains and harmful germs in the sunny days ahead.

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Farmer's markets
Farmer's markets

This summer try eating the best of the season from local farmers.  Not only can you reduce your negative impact on the environment by purchasing local, but you can also reap the nutritional benefits of eating seasonally. Not sure what’s in peak season? Ask the farmer--nobody can give you a better answer.  

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Pool days
Pool days

Research found that more than half of public pool samples contain E. coli bacteria – a sign of fecal contamination.  Also, a study found that 7 in 10 people don’t shower before going in a public pool.  While chlorine destroys E.coli, the nitrogen in urine and sweat bind with chlorine, creating chloramine. That can make chlorine less effective. Shower before and after swimming and, if you can, try to swim in a private pool.   

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Gardening
Gardening

Gardening can be strenuous. To avoid injuring your back and knees, practice proper squatting and lifting techniques.  While doing repetitive tasks, switch sides frequently to balance your muscle workloads. If you have a bee-sting allergy, have medication on hand and don't wear bright colors or fragrant beauty products that can attract insects Other safety precautions include using proper eyewear and gloves, plus staying hydrated.  

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Camping
Camping

Spray your clothing with a permethrin repellent that acts as an insecticide and kills ticks, mosquitoes, chiggers, mites and more.  For shorter stretches outside, a bug repellent with DEET or picardin will help keep the bugs away.  For a natural alternative that can be as effective as DEET, look for a product that contains lemon oil, eucalyptus oil, or IR3535.

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Cookouts
Cookouts

Always consider food transportation and grilling temperatures when packing for a cookout. While transporting perishable foods, keep them packed in a full cooler with ice on top of the item as well as under it. The temperature should be 40 degrees or colder.  Once at your destination don’t leave food out for more than two hours--and no more than one hour if it’s hotter than 90 degrees.

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Exercising outdoors
Exercising outdoors

Remember to warm up beforehand and, if haven’t been very active during the winter, start slowly to avoid injury. Sun safety is also very important. Be sure to stay hydrated and covered--both with clothing and sunscreen. Avoid the sun as much as possible from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., when the rays are strongest.