CURRENT ISSUE:  August 2023

Health Matters: What’s in your Summer Safety Emergency Kit?

By Dr. Sleiman Abukhater

Summer is the prime time to take in some extra fresh air and Vitamin D. Staying healthy and safe is crucial – that’s where a summer safety emergency kit can help!

Hydration is the number one way to stay healthy during the summer heat. We lose a lot of our body fluids through sweat. If you are going to be active, water is even more of a necessity. Dehydration can leave us victim to heat stroke and several heat-related illnesses. Sports drinks and snacks can also provide extra energy.

Sun Safety
Promoting sun safety is important for a pain-free summer. Remaining in the shade during the peak hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. can help prevent skin cancer and sunburns. Ultraviolet or UV rays exist in sunlight and are associated with most skin cancer diagnoses.

When you must be in the sun, having sunscreen on hand is important! You can reduce your risk by applying sunscreen with a minimum SPF (sun protection factor) of 15 – the higher SPF the better, especially with children and people with fair-skin.

Sunscreen should be applied 30 minutes before going outside and reapplied every two hours. Hats and clothes that cover your skin, while maintaining a low body temperature in the heat can also make a difference.

There’s nothing worse for a child than to be stuck inside sick on a summer day. As always, encourage handwashing with children to prevent summer illnesses. Have children wash their hands after playing outside, after sneezing or coughing, after using the restroom, as well as before and after eating. Pack hand sanitizer if you’re out and about for the day to help you keep things clean on the go.

First Aid Kit
Having a first-aid kit on hand can be especially important. A first-aid kit can always be helpful in the case of sunburns and poison ivy. Making sure your first aid kit is filled with pain medication such as ibuprofen, Benadryl and even an EpiPen if necessary.

During the Fourth of July season, fireworks safety is crucial, especially if you are having your own celebration. Burns are the most common injury from fireworks. Firecrackers, sparklers, and bottle rockets can also be harmful if not used properly. Considering safe alternatives such as glow sticks, confetti poppers, or streamers can be a better bet. In the case of drinking, it is also important there is a sober adult overseeing and handling any fireworks.

Supervision is key to have a safe and fun summer. Always make sure to have an adult watching, especially at the pool when children are swimming, to prevent choking or drowning. Checking out playground equipment that’s directly in the sunlight before allowing your kids to play is also important to avoid children getting burned.

If an emergency does happen, remember time is of the essence. Don’t hesitate to call 911 or head to the nearest urgent care location

*Sleiman Abukhater, MD, is a board-certified family medicine physician. He cares for patients at Mercy Health – Sheffield Primary Care in Sheffield Village, OH. He is a graduate of the Avalon University School Of Medicine and completed his residency at Wheeling Hospital Family Medicine.

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