HCC Coleman College offers safety tips for summer fun
Jun 11, 2019
School is out, and kids are ready to jump in the pool, or the family is heading on vacation. Before getting in the car with a favorite video game or mom’s summer read, Houston Community College (HCC) is encouraging everyone to take a moment to remember a few summer safety tips.
“We just want folks to take a little time to think about summer safety, both in the pool and out of the pool,” said Dr. Delores Saddler, Program Director for the Nursing Department HCC Coleman College Center of Excellence for Health Sciences. “The most important reminder is to take the sun seriously because there’s a difference between heat exhaustion and heat exposure.”
Dr. Saddler says that heat exposure is marked by dehydration and can be solved by drinking fluids, but heat exhaustion can be fatal and may cause symptoms of dizziness, nausea, excessive thirst, fever of 104 degrees or more, and heavy sweating. In this case, she says to call 911 and apply ice to the neck, arm pits, and groin area until emergency crews arrive.
Most summer safety tips involve water, sun and fun, but they still warrant certain precautions, so it never hurts to ask the expert for advice. Here, Dr. Saddler discusses the facts and fiction about the summer sun:
- The truth about sunscreen. Just when you thought it was safe to not wear so much, for one reason or another, Dr. Saddler is putting several myths to rest. Everyone needs to wear sunscreen, and the higher the SPF, the better. Even if it is waterproof, it should be reapplied after a few hours in the water. Regardless of skin color, sunburn affects everyone with certain types of skin cancer (more on that topic later).
- Sun damage through cloud coverage. Dr. Saddler says that 70 to 80 percent of the sun’s harmful UV rays still come through on a cloudy day but, because it is overcast, people are lured into a false sense of security, causing some of the worst burns. Like any other day, it is best to avoid being outdoors between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and to stay inside if temperatures exceed 102 degrees.
- Protective clothing. Living in the South has taught many to wear hats and sunglasses, but they may believe that short sleeves make sense in the heat. On the contrary, Dr. Saddler says that long sleeves, specifically breathable linen or cotton, are preferable in order to cover the skin.
- Avoiding skin cancer. Many may take great care to protect their children from the sun’s harmful rays, but either forget to apply sunscreen to themselves or, worse, work on a tan while their kids frolic in the pool. This long-term exposure to the sun’s harmful rays will damage the skin and could cause three types of cancer: Melanoma, Squamous and Basal Cell.
- Everyone can learn CPR. Nothing is more tragic in this season of fun in the sun than news of a drowning, and it’s not just children. Adults also get into trouble at the beach, says Dr. Saddler, when they venture into unknown waters, such as rip currents or deep holes.
“Of course, adults should always watch children, who are naturally curious and will wander away, so keep them in a floatation device at all times,” said Dr. Saddler, who also recommends that everyone learn CPR. “Children as young as eight or nine can take CPR.”
She suggests CPR classes at a local YMCA or other independent instructors, who focus on chest compressions. Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is not as commonplace as it was unless individuals are prepared with protective gear to avoid infections.