Beating the Heat
There’s no doubt about it, summer is in full-swing. As we continue to see record high temperatures around the country, people are flocking to summertime activities to have fun and to beat the heat. At GreeningLaw P.C., we want everyone to get the most out of their summer, but we also want to remind everyone out there to stay safe with some summertime safety tips.
The first danger you’re going to encounter in any Texas summer is the heat itself. With temperatures regularly running over 100 degrees, Texas summers can be especially brutal. That’s why it’s important to remember to keep yourself safe and cool to avoid the three most common heat-related ailments: heatstroke, heat exhaustion and heat cramps.
A person who is experiencing heatstroke will have extremely hot skin and an altered mental state, ranging from slight confusion to unconsciousness and seizures. Removing excess heat from the body is crucial to that person’s survival.
- Move the person into a half-sitting position in the shade
- Call for emergency medical help immediately
- If humidity is below 75%, spray the victim with water and fan them vigorously; if humidity is above 75%, apply ice to neck, armpits or groin
- Do not give aspirin or acetaminophen
- Do not give the victim anything to drink
Symptoms of heat exhaustion are similar to those of the flu and often include severe thirst, fatigue, headache, nausea, vomiting and, sometimes, diarrhea. Other symptoms include profuse sweating, clammy or pale skin, dizziness, rapid pulse and normal or slightly elevated body temperature.
Untreated heat exhaustion can turn into heatstroke, so make sure to treat the person quickly.
- Move them to a shaded or air-conditioned area
- Give them water or other cool, nonalcoholic beverages
- Apply wet towels or having them take a cool shower
Heat cramps are muscle spasms that usually affect the legs or abdominal muscles, often after physical activity. Excessive sweating reduces salt levels in the body, which can result in heat cramps.
Workers or athletes with pain or spasms in the abdomen, arms or legs should not return to work for a few hours. Instead:
- Sit or lie down in the shade
- Drink cool water or a sports drink
- Stretch affected muscles
- Seek medical attention if you have heart problems or if the cramps don’t get better in an hour.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the best way to avoid heat-related illnesses is to limit outdoor exposure during hot days. The CDC also recommends:
- Drink more liquid than you think you need and avoid alcohol
- Wear loose, lightweight clothing and a hat
- Replace salt lost from sweating by drinking fruit juice or sports drinks
- Avoid spending time outdoors during the hottest part of the day, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Wear sunscreen; sunburn affects the body’s ability to cool itself
- Pace yourself when you run or otherwise exert your body
Pool Safety Tips
Pools are a great way to beat the summer heat, but it’s important to remember to keep yourself and your family safe. The CDC estimates that about 3,500 people die due to unintentional drownings every year, and about one in five of those people are age 14 and younger.
Six simple pool rules to follow:
- Secure your pool with appropriate barriers. Completely surround your pool with a 4-feet high fence or barrier with a self-closing, self-latching gate.
- Keep children under active supervision at all times. Designate a person to be responsible while people are in the pool and never let anyone to swim alone. Younger and inexperienced swimmers should wear a USCG-approved life jacket.
- Make sure that everyone knows how to swim by enrolling them in age-appropriate water orientation and learn-to-swim courses.
- Keep your pool or hot tub water clean and clear. Maintain proper chemical levels, circulation and filtration. Regularly test and adjust the chemical levels to minimize the risk of earaches, rashes or more serious diseases.
- Establish and enforce rules such as no diving, staying away from drain covers, always swimming with a buddy and not running near the pool.
- Ensure everyone in the home knows how to respond to water emergencies by purchasing safety equipment and taking water safety, first aid and CPR courses.
Lake and River Safety Tips
Texas’ lakes and rivers offer other great ways to have fun during the summer, but safety must be a concern here as well, especially when boating. The U.S. Coast Guard recorded more than 4,000 accidents that involved over 600 deaths, 2,600 injuries and approximately $42 million dollars’ worth of property damage as a result of recreational boating accidents in 2015.
Here are six simple tips for those hitting the water in a boat this summer:
- Be Aware of the Weather – Always check local weather conditions before departure. If you notice darkening clouds play it safe by getting off the water.
- Follow a Pre-Departure Checklist – Proper boating safety includes being prepared for any possibility on the water. Following a pre-departure checklist is the best way to make sure no boating safety rules or precautions have been overlooked or forgotten.
- Use Common Sense – This means operating at a safe speed at all times (especially in crowded areas), staying alert at all times and steering clear of large vessels and watercraft that can be restricted in their ability to stop or turn. Also, be respectful of buoys and other navigational aids, all of which have been placed there to ensure your own safety.
- Designate an Assistant Skipper – Make sure more than one person on board is familiar with all aspects of your boat’s handling, operations, and general boating safety. If the primary navigator is injured or incapacitated in any way, it’s important to make sure someone else can follow the proper boating safety rules to get everyone else back to shore.
- Make Proper Use of Lifejackets – Did you know that the majority of drowning victims are the result of boaters not wearing their lifejackets? Make sure that your family and friends aren’t part of this statistic by assigning each member of your party with a life jacket prior to departure.
- Avoid Alcohol – Practice boating safety at all times by saving the alcohol for later. The probability of being involved in a boating accident doubles when alcohol is involved, and many studies have shown that the effects of alcohol are exacerbated by sun and wind.
The summer months can be an especially fun and memorable time, but it’s important to remember to have fun safely by following the tips discussed above. Unfortunately, even if you follow all the rules, others can ruin your summer due to carelessness and/or negligence.
If the worst happens and you or a loved one is injured as a result of someone else’s negligence or because of unsafe equipment (e.g., pool, hot tub, jet ski, etc.), you may be entitled to compensation. Contact us for a free consultation. We will review the elements of your case, discuss the possible compensation you may receive, and suggest the best course of action.
GreeningLaw P.C. is recognized as one of the leading person injury law firms in Texas. Contact us today to book a free consultation and let us handle your case so you can focus on what matters most to you.
We fight the legal battle so you have time for healing and renewal.
- Safety at Home. (n.d.). Retrieved July 23, 2018, from https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/tools-resources/seasonal-safety/summer
- Safe Boating Tips. (n.d.). Retrieved July 23, 2018, from https://www.discoverboating.com/ownership/safety/tips
- CDC Highlights Summer Health and Safety Tips. (n.d.). Retrieved July 23, 2018, from https://www.cdc.gov/media/pressrel/r030626.htm