Summer time is here.  Families want to be outdoors in the warm weather enjoying activities at the pool, the park, the ballfield, and other venues.  Follow these simple tips so that everyone has a safe and healthy summer season.

Stay Hydrated

Children and adults who are active outside in hot and humid weather must stay hydrated.  The best way to do that is by drinking water.  Other beverages are not good substitutes for water, and drinks containing alcohol and caffeine may actually contribute to dehydration.  Water helps to replenish the fluids our bodies lose when we sweat and urinate.  Don’t wait until you feel thirsty.  Drink some water every 15-20 minutes when active outside in the heat.summer sun protection

Prevent Sunburn    

Sunburn puts us at risk for developing skin cancer and contributes to premature aging of the skin.  Try to limit outdoor activities during the middle of the day, when the sun’s rays are strongest.  Apply a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays.  The SPF number measures how well the sunscreen protects skin compared to not wearing it.  The higher the SPF number, the better the protection.  SPF 15 may be adequate for limited sun exposure but use SPF 30 or higher for prolonged periods outside.  A water resistant product is a good option when swimming or if perspiring heavily.  Reapply the sunscreen often.

Protect your eyes from sun damage by wearing sunglasses outside.  A hat offers sun protection for the scalp, ears, and neck.  Some clothing is made of fabric with UV protection.  This works well for people with fair or sensitive skin types.

Avoid Insect Bites

Insect bites are more than just a summer annoyance.  Some insects, like mosquitoes and ticks, carry disease.  Mosquitoes are most active in early morning, dusk, and at night.  To prevent exposure to mosquitoes, wear long pants and long sleeved shirts.  Use insect repellent on exposed skin.  Some parents may choose to avoid using repellents containing DEET on their children.  Natural products are not as effective, so reapply them more often.  After walking in the woods or through tall grass, check yourself and your children for any ticks that may have attached to the body.  Remove ticks with tweezers and wash the bite with soap and water.  Wipe with alcohol to prevent infection.  Most insect repellents work on ticks as well as mosquitoes.