As temperatures rise and the days grow longer, people flock to beaches, parks, and swimming pools to make the most of the warm weather. While summer is undoubtedly a time to relax and enjoy leisure activities, it's essential to be mindful of the potential risks and hazards that come with the season.
In this article, we'll explore the most common summertime injuries and their causes, highlighting why they occur more frequently during the sunny season.
One of the most prevalent summertime hazards is heat-related illnesses, such as heatstroke, heat exhaustion, and heat cramps. These conditions occur when the body's temperature regulation system becomes overwhelmed by excessive heat and humidity.
During the summer months, high temperatures and humidity levels can cause the body to overheat, leading to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. As a result, heat-related illnesses are more likely to occur. To prevent these conditions, it's essential to stay hydrated, wear loose-fitting and light-colored clothing, and take breaks in shaded or air-conditioned areas during the hottest parts of the day.
Sunburn and skin damage
Too much exposure to the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause sunburns and long-term skin damage, such as premature aging and an increased risk of skin cancer. Sunburns are more common in the summer due to increased outdoor activities, and the sun's stronger UV rays during this season.
To protect your skin, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30, wear protective clothing, and seek shade during peak sun hours (typically 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Remember to reapply sunscreen every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating. It’s also a good idea to wear sunglasses, as UV exposure increases the risk of potentially blinding eye diseases.
Swimming and water sports are perhaps the most popular summer pastimes, but they come with their own set of risks. Among children ages 1-14, drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death behind motor vehicle crashes.
In addition to drowning, other water-related injuries include near-drowning incidents, diving accidents, and injuries from water sports like jet skiing or boating.
To minimize these risks, always supervise children around water, learn to swim and teach children to swim, use life jackets when boating, and avoid diving in shallow or unfamiliar waters. Additionally, be aware of local weather conditions and water currents to stay safe while enjoying water activities.
Insect bites and stings
Warmer weather brings an increase in insect activity, leading to a higher risk of bites and stings from mosquitoes, ticks, bees, and wasps. Insect bites can cause discomfort, allergic reactions, or transmit diseases like Lyme disease or West Nile virus.
In rare cases, insect bites can lead to death. Most deaths from insect bites are due to an allergic reaction to the venom rather than toxins from the venom itself.
To prevent insect bites, use insect repellent containing DEET, wear long sleeves and pants when spending time outdoors, and avoid areas with high insect activity. Check your skin, hair, and clothing for ticks after spending time in wooded or grassy areas.
Children are more likely to spend time outdoors playing during the summer months, increasing the risk of playground injuries. Falls from playground equipment can lead to fractures, sprains, and even traumatic brain injuries.
To keep your child safe on the playground, supervise them closely, ensure the equipment is age-appropriate and well-maintained, and teach them about safe play behaviors. Additionally, look for playgrounds with soft surfaces, like wood chips or rubber, to help cushion potential falls.
What is premises liability law?
Premises liability is the area of law that determines whether a property owner, such as an individual, town, or school, is liable for injuries that occur on property they own.
In general, property owners are responsible for keeping children safe from hazardous conditions, even if the child is trespassing on the property. This means that if a child is injured on dangerous playground equipment, the owner of the property can be held liable even if the child snuck onto the property without the owner’s consent.
Bicycle and skateboard accidents
Bicycling, skateboarding, and other wheeled sports are popular during the dog days of summer. Unfortunately, these activities can cause fractures, dislocations, lacerations, road rash, and serious head injuries.
To reduce the risk of injuries, always wear a helmet and appropriate safety gear. Follow traffic rules when cycling on the road, and be aware of your surroundings. Consider enrolling younger children in bicycle or skateboard safety courses to ensure they learn the necessary skills for safe riding.
Lawn mower injuries
Most people find mowing the lawn to be a pain, but who knew it could cause physical pain?
Every summer, lawn mower accidents cause severe injuries, including lacerations, fractures, and even amputations. Many accidents occur due to improper use, lack of maintenance, or children playing near the equipment. If a lawn mower accident occurs because of a defective lawn mower or lawn mower part, a product liability lawsuit may be appropriate.
To prevent lawnmower injuries, ensure that the equipment is well-maintained and functioning properly. Keep children and pets away from the lawn while mowing, and NEVER allow a child to ride on a lawnmower. You should also consider wearing protective gear like safety goggles, gloves, and closed-toe shoes while operating a lawn mower, and you should avoid mowing the lawn when the grass is wet to avoid the risk of slipping.
Some people wait all year for a chance to fire up the grill and invite their friends over for a barbeque. Unfortunately, bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli thrive in warm temperatures. Improper food handling or storage can lead to foodborne outbreaks.
To minimize the risk of foodborne illness, practice proper food handling techniques, such as regularly washing your hands and the surfaces on which you’re preparing food.
Here are some additional tips for minimizing the risk of foodborne outbreaks:
- Separate raw meats from other foods
- Cook food to the appropriate internal temperature
- Avoid leaving perishable foods out in the sun for extended periods
- Store leftovers promptly in a cooler or refrigerator
As people engage in outdoor sports and recreational activities during the summer, the risk of sports-related injuries increases. Overuse injuries can also occur as people take advantage of the longer daylight hours and warmer weather to exercise.
To prevent sports injuries, ensure you warm up and stretch before engaging in physical activity, wear appropriate gear, and know when to reduce your intensity.
Dehydration is more common during the summer months due to increased sweating and physical activity in the heat.
To stay properly hydrated, drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially before, during, and after physical activity. Consuming electrolyte-rich sports drinks can also help replenish lost electrolytes. Be mindful of the signs of dehydration and seek medical attention if symptoms worsen or persist.
According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of dehydration include:
|Symptoms of dehydration in children and adults|
|Infant or young child||Adult|
While summer offers countless opportunities for outdoor fun and relaxation, it's important to take precautions to avoid common seasonal injuries. By being mindful of potential hazards, you can enjoy a safer summer season.