Release Date: 6/29/2010
Summer fun starts with safety
By Damon Broyles, M.D., Family Medicine Specialist, Fenton Family Medicine
Remember summer vacation when you were a kid? All you could see was this seemingly endless stretch of sunny summer days, brimming with freedom and fun.
Even as an adult, there’s something wonderfully liberating about three months of warm weather, pulling you outdoors to work the winter kinks out of your body.
Whether you’re a weekend warrior on the softball field, an afternoon athlete on the tennis court – or just the parent of one – here are a few practical tips to keep your summer safe.
If playing sports is your thing, take time to prepare your muscles before plunging in. Begin conditioning your body through exercise, weight training and aerobic activities well before that first line-up on the field. Warm up your muscles with gentle stretches before and after every game. This is especially important for children, whose growing muscles and tendons tend to be tight.
If swimming and sunbathing is on your summer schedule, be sure to wear sunscreen to protect your skin, sunglasses to protect your eyes and use constant supervision to protect your children. Don’t leave them unattended – even for a moment – near or in any body of water.
If you plan to do some hiking or hunting in a wooded area, avoid using strong-smelling soaps or perfumes that attract insects. Wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants, topped by a cap or hat to protect yourself from both ticks and poison ivy. Spray yourself and your children with insect repellant.
If you enjoy your world on wheels – bicycles, skateboards, skates or scooters – be sure to wear the proper safety gear. Helmets are a must to prevent head injuries, but knee and elbow pads can provide protection from cuts, scrapes and bruises and even more serious injuries.
If you’re a hot-weather handyman (or handywoman), who can’t wait to plunge into outdoor chores like gardening, landscaping or building a deck, just remember:
- Since you haven’t used a shovel, rake or hoe for several months, you need to work up to it gradually.
- When you’re digging, weeding or hauling heavy loads of fertilizer or rock, use tools that fit your size, watch your posture as you work and lift with your legs, not your back.
- Relegate your heaviest outdoor jobs to the coolest hours of the day. Too much activity performed in too much heat can make you sick.
- Be sure to use appropriate eye and hearing protection if you plan to use tools or power equipment.
Make your summer memorable – not miserable – by taking a few sensible precautions to prevent illnesses and injuries.
Dr. Damon Broyles, Dr. Justin Hugo and Dr. Melissa Johnson, Family Medicine specialists on staff at St. Anthony’s Medical Center, are located at 714 Gravois Road near the Gravois Bluffs shopping center in Fenton. Call 314-ANTHONY (268-4669) for an appointment.
For information, please call our Health Access Line at 314-ANTHONY (268-4669) or 800-554-9550 or visit find a physician online.
At St. Anthony's, our vision is to be the area's premier health care organization
— and your first choice for health care services.