Summers seem to be getting shorter every other year. When the good weather finally hits, people try to make the most of summer recreation. Many of them choose water as their recreation medium of choice.
Rivers, lakes, ponds, swimming pools, all is fair game it the search for that perfect day in the outdoors.
Kids seem to be having the most fun while being oblivious to any potential concerns regarding safety and common precautions.
Here are some things to consider and hopefully protect yourself and family from potential problems, big and small.
The Sun rays are nothing short of life bringing mana from the sky. Different wavelengths have different effects on people, animals, and plants alike; most of them beneficial some harmful. Vitamin D production for example is heavily affected by the presence of sun and in many case people in areas with little sunshine end up getting vitamin D deficiency and have to supplement it with pills. On the downside, overexposure can lead to those dreaded sunburns, heat strokes, dehydration and even skin cancers.
Make it a point to use sunscreen on all family members. Wear appropriate light-colored clothing or try to keep your skin covered for the most part. Don’t necessarily use the most extreme SPF numbers in protection. Recent studies have shown that higher SPF numbers don’t necessarily mean better. Which ever sunscreen you use, replenish frequently and read the instructions.
One detail that eludes most of us is even when the air temperature is well in the 70’s, lake and especially river water temperatures can be in the low 50’s even in the 40’s. The thermal shock can be severe when going full bore into the frigid water. Hypothermia can start to set in in as little as 10 minutes. Especially when swimming in a lake, by the time one starts to feel the effect of the onset of hypothermia it might be all too late as the limbs start to go numb and keeping afloat increasingly difficult. Breathing starts to become erratic as well as the heart rate.
Another problem may arise with the presence of algae and other organics the bloom during the summer season. Many times, the algae presence is so severe that portions of a lake or the entire lake can be shut down for swimmers. Chemicals released from algae can be very harmful to humans and animals alike. Algae is also known to release greenhouse gasses into the air. Methane and nitrous oxide are among the most prevalent of those gases. No living being should be swimming and breathing in methane.
Jumping from cliffs or elevated positions without scoping the water depth and the area underneath is a sure way to ruin your day. Many people have paid a dear price for a moment of silliness. Don’t be that guy/gal that will make the evening news as the new milestone in the human de-evolution. Exercise common sense and make sure you stay safe even when in your silly moments.
The Oldies but Goodies
Avoid eating and swimming. It’s currently a myth, but even tall tales come from a shred of truth.
Caffeine and alcohol (that includes beer) will dehydrate your body faster than the sun. Even if you don’t feel the effects of dehydration right on, at the end of the day you will feel the effects of it, and they will probably last for a good 24 to 48hrs. There’s no need to ruin two days of your life for a few hours of “buzzed” fun. That hassle of course does not compare to getting into an accident where harm to people and property can occur. A DWI will stick with you forever while the buzz will not.
Never, ever, ever leave kids of any age unattended. When humans loosen up and try to have fun, admittedly we turn into goof balls. Adults included. It takes seconds for a catastrophe to happen. Take turns with other adults in actively supervising everybody else, adults included. Promote safe, healthy fun and activities, games and habits.
Have a wonderful, happy and safe summer.