South Texas Veterans Health Care System (STVHCS)
Although in South Texas we’ve felt like summer has been here for quite some time, it’s now official. June 20 marked the first official day of summer and we’ve already had temperatures above 100 degrees. Each season brings its own unique safety tips and we want to share a few summer safety tips with you.
Summer Heat Safety: South Texas regularly experiences temperatures above 100 degrees in the summer months, and there are unique challenges to staying safe in the summer.
- During the hottest hours of the day, stay inside. The hottest hours are typically from mid-morning to mid-afternoon.
- Dress lightly and, when sleeping, use lightweight, breathable covers.
- Drink plenty of water and other fluids.
- Avoid alcohol and carbonated or caffeinated beverages as they can cause dehydration.
- Move your exercise routine to early morning or later in the evening.
- Use a fan.
- Use small appliances like crock pots and table top grills rather than heating up the kitchen/house with the traditional oven.
- If you have elderly family members/friends, try to visit often during the hottest months and, if there is a heat hotline, make sure they have the number and know when to call.
Summer also brings a lot of fun activities, but they can also be dangerous if you aren’t properly prepared:
- If you bicycle, skate, ride a scooter or atv or horses, skateboard or any other mobile activity outside of a car, make sure you wear a helmet. The helmet should fit flat on your head, not tilted back at an angle. It should also fit snugly and not obstruct your vision. Wear the chin strap firmly buckled and do not use the helmet if it has been involved in an accident.
- Bicyclists should wear bright, fluorescent colors during the day and avoid biking at night. If you must ride at night, include head and tail lights on your bike and wear reflective clothing.
Grilling Safety – before lighting your grill, practice a couple of safety checks first:
- Inspect the hoses for cracking, holes, leaks and brittleness.
- Check for gas leaks.
- Is the grill clean? Regular cleaning will reduce the risk of flare-ups and grease fires.
- Use the grill outside only, in a well ventilated area.
- Never leave the grill unattended.
- Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
- Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.
- If you’re boating, wear a life jacket.
- If you’re swimming in open water, know where the shallow and deeper areas are and be aware of currents.
- If in salt water, be aware of any animal hazards, such as jelly fish.
- If possible, avoid swimming at night, especially in open water.
- Use sunscreen whenever you’re going to be outside. Remember- Slip, Slop, Slap, Wrap! Slip on a shirt, slop on some sunscreen, Slap on a hat and Wrap on sunglasses to protect your eyes.
One of the most important things you can do to stay safe and help others is to be knowledgeable about the risks and, if possible, learn CPR and/or First Aid. We periodically offer free CPR classes through our health care system, so keep checking the calendar to find the next class. You can also check out the American Red Cross to see when they offer classes.