The Sounds of Advice #52: Summer Safety Tips

Summer safety tips, staying hydrated, elderly care, pet care in the heat

Aisling: Summer Safety Tips

1. Always apply sunscreen 15 to 20 minutes before going outside, even if it is cloudy. Don't forget to reapply when needed! 
2. Never leave children alone near any pools or bodies of water. 
3. Take a CPR course just in case. You may just save someone's life!
4. When using bicycles, skateboards, rollerblades, etc..always check to make sure they are in good working condition to prevent accidents. 
5. Always wear safety gear when using bicycles, skateboards, rollerblades, etc. 
6. Make sure to wear a life jacket when you're on a boat, also make sure it is the correct size for your weight. 
7. Drink plenty of water, especially on hot & humid days. 
8. After coming inside check yourself for ticks.

Sandy: We all love spending the long, sunny days of summer outdoors with our furry companions, but being overeager in hot weather can spell danger. To prevent your pet from overheating, take these simple precautions provided by ASPCA experts:

Visit the vet for a spring or early-summer checkup. Make sure your pets get tested for heartworm if they aren’t on year-round preventative medication.

Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot or humid outdoors. Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful not to over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot.

Know the symptoms of overheating in pets, which include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. Symptoms can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees.

Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.

Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. Not only can it lead to fatal heat stroke, it is illegal in several states!

Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool—not all dogs are good swimmers. Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats. Rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from his fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals.

Open unscreened windows pose a real danger to pets, who often fall out of them. Keep all unscreened windows or doors in your home closed, and make sure adjustable screens are tightly secured.

Feel free to trim longer hair on your dog, but never shave your dog: The layers of dogs’ coats protect them from overheating and sunburn. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat. And be sure that any sunscreen or insect repellent product you use on your pets is labeled specifically for use on animals.

When the temperature is very high, don’t let your dog linger on hot asphalt. Being so close to the ground, your pooch’s body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum.

Commonly used rodenticides and lawn and garden insecticides can be harmful to cats and dogs if ingested, so keep them out of reach. Keep citronella candles, tiki torch products and insect coils of out pets’ reach as well. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 if you suspect your animal has ingested a poisonous substance.

Remember that food and drink commonly found at barbeques can be poisonous to pets. Keep alcoholic beverages away from pets, as they can cause intoxication, depression and comas. Similarly, remember that the snacks enjoyed by your human friends should not be a treat for your pet; any change of diet, even for one meal, may give your dog or cat severe digestive ailments. Avoid raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate and products with the sweetener xylitol.
Link for food to not give your pets.

Michaelle: Hydration
The American College of Sports Medicine advises drinking 16-20 ounces of water one to two hours before outdoor activities for active people. Then, once outdoors, continue to drink 6-12 ounces of water every 10-15 minutes of outside activity. Once back indoors, drink 16-24 ounces of water to replace what fluids were lost during the outside activity.

Drinking filtered purified water is the best first option in staying properly hydrated. Next, if in a hurry, was bottled water. Many see benefits of adding lemon, lime, or cucumbers to their water to boost natural electrolytes. Eating fruits high in water content was also suggested such as oranges, grapefruit, peaches, cantaloupe, raspberries, and watermelon.

Staying hydrated has many health benefits, since our bodies are primarily made up of water. Heart, circulatory system, digestion, and muscles all perform at a higher standard the better we are hydrated, so drink lots of water this summer. Cheers!

Kate: Seniors are more vulnerable to heat because:

  • Their bodies don’t adjust as well to sudden changes in temperature.
  • Chronic medical conditions can change their body responses to heat.
  • Prescription medicines can impair their body’s ability to regulate temperature or could actually prevent sweating.

Drink Plenty of Liquids: Dehydration is the root of many heat related health problems. Drink plenty of water or juice, even if you're not thirsty. But remember to avoid alcoholic or caffeinated drinks, as they can actually contribute to dehydration.

Wear Appropriate Clothes: An old Swedish saying says, "There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes." When it's hot out, wear light-colored, lightweight, loose-fitting clothes and a wide-brimmed hat.

Stay Indoors During Mid-day Hours: During periods of extreme heat, the best time to run errands or be outdoors is before 10am or after 6pm, when the temperature tends to be cooler.

Take it Easy: Avoid exercise and strenuous activity, particularly outdoors, when it's very hot out.

Watch the Heat Index: When there's a lot of moisture in their air (high humidity), the body's ability to cool itself through sweating is impaired. The heat index factors humidity and temperature to approximate how the how the weather really feels. The current heat index can be found on all popular weather websites, and is also usually announced on local TV and radio weather reports during periods of warm weather.

Seek Air-conditioned Environments: Seniors whose houses aren't air-conditioned should consider finding an air-conditioned place to spend time during extreme heat.The mall, library or movie theater are all popular options. During heat waves, many cities also set up "cooling centers," air-conditioned public places, for seniors and other vulnerable populations. Seniors without convenient access to any air-conditioned place might consider a cool bath or shower.

Know the Warning Signs of Heat-related Illness: Dizziness, nausea, headache, rapid heartbeat, chest pain, fainting and breathing problems are all warning signs that help should be sought immediately. 

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