Summer break is here — finally!
If you’re like most Mavericks, you are already beginning to plan your events and activities for the summer. Maybe it’s a dip in the pool once a week, hitting the trails more often, gardening, joining an outdoor sports league, or just enjoying more time outside in general.
However you choose to spend your summer, make sure you are keeping your health and safety top of mind. Nebraska Medicine UNO Health Center shares a few simple tips.
Prevent Heat Exposure
Check the heat advisory before going outside. During extreme temperatures, limit your time outdoors. If you are outside and begin to feel overheated or experience excessive sweating, rapid heartbeat, weakness, dizziness, headache or nausea, get to a cool area immediately. Drink small sips of cool water and turn on a fan or air conditioner in the area. If you notice signs of heatstroke, call 911.
Protect Your Skin
Everyone, regardless of skin color, is at risk for sun exposure and skin cancer. Stay safe by wearing sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater anytime you plan to be outside for more than 5 or 10 minutes. Don’t forget to apply it to all exposed skin, including your face, back of neck, ankles, etc. Reapply often.
Avoid Bug Bites
Anytime you go outdoors, apply insect repellent with 20% to 30% DEET. Spray it on all exposed skin and clothing. Always apply it after your sunscreen dries. If you plan to hike at night or in a densely wooded area, wear clothing that covers as much skin as possible and wear closed shoes instead of sandals.
For painful bites, like a bee sting, take an over-the-counter painkiller like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. For bites that itch, apply an ice pack and an over-the-counter anti-itch cream like hydrocortisone.
Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink water. Drink water throughout the day. Make it the first thing you do when you wake up and one of the last things you do before beginning your nighttime routine. Aim to drink at least two-thirds of your body weight in ounces every day.
Alcohol and caffeine can dehydrate you quickly on a hot day. Limit these drinks and choose water where you can. If water is too bland for you, consider adding cucumbers, lemon or fruit to your water to give it a different natural flavor.
Bike and Skate Safely
Before you head out, make sure you wear the right protective equipment, including: a well-fitting helmet, wrist guards, knee and elbow pads and closed-toe shoes. Choose a safe place to ride like a skate park or a trail. Never ride in the street or in wet weather. If you are going out at night, wear reflective clothing. When skating, make sure your hands are clear of your board; accidentally rolling over your hands can cause serious damage.
Don’t swim alone. Always have at least one buddy with you. Avoid drinking alcohol before and during water activities, as studies show alcohol is a primary factor in most water-recreation-related deaths.
Treat Minor Cuts and Scrapes
Wash your hands with soap and water, and then wash the cut to prevent infection. Apply pressure to stop the bleeding. Apply petroleum jelly or antibiotic ointment to the cut and then cover it with a sterile bandage. If the cut is swelling or causing pain, take over-the-counter pain medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
As the weather is nicer, be aware of your surroundings when you go outside. Put down your cellphone, skip the headphones and stay alert as you walk.
About the UNO Health Center
Remember, if you get sick or injured this summer, the UNO Health Center is here to help. We offer a combination of in-person and telehealth care depending on your needs. We are open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 A.M. to 4 P.M. and Wednesdays for telehealth only from 8 A.M. to 4 P.M. Call 402.554.2374 to schedule an appointment or visit our website to learn more.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.