You've been outdoors for hours and suddenly you feel dizzy and lightheaded – you're dehydrated! Heatstroke is the most severe form of dehydration and may cause fainting, hallucinations or seizures – all so easy to avoid! Drink plenty fluids, take regular breaks in the shade, and schedule vigorous outdoor activity for early morning or late afternoon, when the heat isn't so strong. For someone suffering serious dehydration or heatstroke, get them indoors, lie them down and cool them off with ice packs and cool, wet cloths. Someone seriously affected by heat may need intravenous fluids.
Emergency rooms around the world rate these to be the most common incidents as top offenders when it comes to summertime.
With all the skin cancer warnings, you'd think we’d know better! In addition to wearing sunscreen that protects against both UVB and UVA rays, long-sleeved shirts and wide-brimmed hats, and staying out of blistering midday rays, there are things you can do to treat sunburn. Drink water or juice to replace lost fluids. Soak the burn in cool water or put a cool, wet cloth on it. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Treat itching with an over-the-counter antihistamine cream or a spray which helps any inflammatory reaction. Apply an antibiotic ointment or an aloe cream that softens and soothes the skin. But remember when it comes to the sun, prevention is always better than cure!
Picnics are great fun but food poisoning hits its peak in the summer months. Anything that has mayonnaise, dairy or eggs in it, and any meat products can develop some pretty nasty bacteria after only a couple of hours unrefrigerated. To prevent food poisoning, wash your hands as well as all surfaces where you'll be preparing food. Wrap raw meat securely and keep it stored away from other food items. Make sure all meat is cooked properly (meat browns very fast on the outside, but that doesn't mean it's safe to eat on the inside). Keep everything refrigerated for as long as possible. Store perishable picnic items in an insulated cooler packed with ice, and follow the “last in, first out” rule.
For most people, a bee or wasp sting is just painful, but for a few, it can be life-threatening. To stay free of bees (and other stinging insects, including mosquitoes) when outdoors, avoid heavy perfumes and scents (especially florals), wear light-coloured clothing, and guard food and sugary drinks. Most people who get stung will just have pain, tenderness, itchiness and swelling at the sting site. To treat a mild reaction, take a painkiller and an antihistamine for swelling. Icing the area can help too. But if you experience hives, itchiness and swelling over large areas of your body, tightness in the chest or trouble breathing, swelling of the tongue or face, or dizziness, then go to the ER immediately!