Take precautions to ensure a safe summer

Every summer brings warm weather and people looking to cool off in local lakes, rivers and swimming pools. It also brings an increase in the number of drownings and near-drownings, as well as heat-related emergencies.

  • BY Wire Service
  • Tuesday, July 1, 2008 3:35pm
  • Life
Last year’s lifeguard crew at Meridian Park.  Standing left to right

Last year’s lifeguard crew at Meridian Park. Standing left to right

Every summer brings warm weather and people looking to cool off in local lakes, rivers and swimming pools. It also brings an increase in the number of drownings and near-drownings, as well as heat-related emergencies.

There are things the public can do to reduce the chance of injury or death when in or near bodies of water, especially during warm weather.

Know the facts and follow these tips to keep you and your family safe.

The Facts:

• Many lakes and rivers in this state are cold enough to cause hypothermia, even during the summer.

• Calm rivers can hide swift currents, rocks, tree branches, and other underwater debris.

• The power of water currents is deceptive. A current that appears slow moving can be strong enough to sweep a person away.

• Drownings often happen when the swimmer is too tired to return to shore.

• Muscle cramps, heavy perspiration and feeling tired are early signs of heat cramps or exhaustion.

• Children and older adults are more susceptible to heat related emergencies.

The Tips:

• Keep hydrated by consuming non-caffeinated, low sugar, non-alcoholic beverages.

• Drink between 16 and 32 ounces of fluids each hour.

• Always wear SPF 15 or higher sunscreen to protect your skin.

• Keep to shaded areas as much as possible.

• Do not forget about your pets. Provide shade and water for their safety.

• Learn how to swim and do not over estimate your swimming abilities.

• Never swim alone.

• Do not let others pressure you into swimming beyond your limits.

• Always wear a life jacket while near or on open water, such as rivers, lakes or the ocean.

• Supervise children when near any body of water.

• The safest place to swim is in a designated swimming area with a lifeguard on duty.

Call 911 for any heat or swimming emergencies.

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site, www.cdc.gov, for more information.


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