Tips for a Safe and Healthful SummerIt was a long time coming, but summer is here at last! During the warm summer months, we change the way we eat, the way we exercise and the way we have fun. To get the most out of summer, safety should be at the top of your list. Here are some tips to help you and your family to enjoy summer safely.
Summer ExerciseThe long, sunny days that summer provides are a welcome time for getting back in shape. Walking, jogging, biking and playing tennis are just some of the great ways to exercise outdoors. As temperatures rise, however, it’s important to take steps to avoid heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Mark Lydecker, physical therapist and athletic trainer in the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Sports Medicine Center, recommends the following tips for outdoor activity:
- Avoid consumption of alcohol and beverages with caffeine before physical activity, including the night before. These beverages act as diuretics which will increase excretion of fluids, leaving you at risk for dehydration.
- Don’t skip a warm-up just because it’s warm outside. Stretch, walk or ride a bike for a few minutes, and drink fluids before starting a strenuous physical activity.
- Wear light-colored clothing made of synthetic blends that are designed to wick moisture away from the skin. Avoid cotton clothing, which retains moisture.
- Wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen to minimize the affect of the sun’s rays on your body.
- Seek exercise paths and areas with shade for your exercise activity to keep you cool. Walk or jog on grassy vs. concrete or asphalt surfaces to minimize impact on knees and ankles.
- Keep yourself hydrated! Drink four to eight ounces of water before your activity and 12 to 16 ounces during each hour of your activity. Consider adding sports drinks if the activity will last longer than 30 minutes because they replace the sodium and potassium the muscles lose during exercise.
- Wear shoes designed for the activity, such as biking shoes, walking shoes or running shoes. They should be comfortable and provide stability to your foot.
Summer Safety Summer presents its own set of safety hazards for children and adults alike. Lisa Hass-Peters, RN, injury prevention educator in the Emergency & Trauma Center at Froedtert Hospital, offers the following quick tips:
- Sun exposure. Wear sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher whenever you spend time in the sun, and reapply it as needed. Some sun screens fade with sweat.
- Heat stroke. To avoid life-threatening heat stroke (a core body temperature above 104°F), avoid strenuous activities during high temperatures. Do activities during cooler evening hours. Drink plenty of water or sports drinks for hydration.
- Diving injuries. Severe spinal injuries can occur if people dive and hit their head on the bottom of a pool, lake or other body of water. Don’t dive if you don’t know the depth of the water. Be aware that even if you know the depth in a river or lake, theses depth can change over time.
- Swimming. Swim only in designated swimming areas and never swim alone. You never know when you might get a cramp.
- Insect repellents. Wear repellents, especially when hiking or camping, to prevent Lyme disease (spread by ticks) and West Nile virus (spread by mosquitoes).
- Transportation. Children and adults should wear helmets when riding bicycles, motorcycles, skateboards or all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). The most effective way to prevent head injuries is to wear a properly fitting helmet.
- Lawn mowers. Never have anyone on your lap when you are using a rider mower, and don’t let children be on the lawn when you are mowing. Wear sturdy shoes (not sandals) when mowing in case the mower slips.
- Burns. Always watch children and pets when grilling outdoors, and never bring a grill inside if the weather turns bad. When lighting fireworks, keep flames and fireworks away from you. The safest thing is to not use fireworks at all.
- Alcohol. Summer festivals, sporting events and other activities often include alcohol. To prevent injury to yourself or others, be a responsible drinker and always make sure you have a designated driver. Many boating accidents are related to alcohol use.
- Bee stings. Cover soda cans to prevent attracting bees.
- Playground safety. Check equipment and the surface below it for splintered wood or damage before children use it.
Summer is a great time to buy fresh fruits and vegetables! Southeastern Wisconsin is blessed with many farmers markets that are open well into the fall months. So find a local market and take advantage of the many varieties of fresh produce available during the summer.
Fresh-picked fruits and vegetables generally are more nutritious than their frozen or canned counterparts. But the way vegetables are prepared will also affect the nutrient content. Vegetables of any type (fresh, frozen, or canned) that are boiled for long periods lose much of their nutritional content compared with vegetables that are raw or lightly steamed.
Certain nutrients in fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, which appear to protect the body against tissue damage that occurs during normal metabolism. The USDA recommends two cups of fruit and 2½ cups of vegetables per day for a 2,000-calorie intake, with higher or lower amounts depending on your calorie level.
Cooking and Eating OutdoorsIf you’re planning a barbecue, here are some helpful tips from Tracey Brand, registered dietitian at Froedtert Hospital:
- Defrost meat, poultry and fish in the refrigerator and take them to the grill when the fire is ready. Letting meats sit out until the grill is ready can allow bacteria to grow. Be sure to check the inside temperature of the meat as it grills. Just because the outside of food looks cooked doesn’t mean the inside temperature is high enough to kill bacteria.
The following minimal internal temperatures must be reached (check the thickest part of the meat):
- Poultry..... 165° F for 15 seconds
- Pork..... 145° F for 15 seconds
- Fish..... 145° F for 15 seconds
- Ground meat..... 145° F for 15 seconds
- Beef and pork roast..... 145° F for 3 minutes
- When serving cheese- or mayonnaise-based cold salads, keep them chilled (40° F or below) until it’s time to eat. Protein foods can spoil very easily when left to sit at room temperature. Discard food that has been out for more than four hours.
To get even more out of your summer, be sure to stop at Small Stones to look at the many resources available to you, including books, audio and videotapes and health products. Our nurse educators, Mary Freisleben, RN, BSN, and Kathy Steele, RN, BSN, will help you select appropriate items and answer your questions. Give Small Stones a try!
Source: Every Day
Date: May - July 2006 Issue