ROCHESTER (WWJ) – A summer to do list usually contains such carefree items as buying suntan lotion, catching the latest movie blockbuster and delving into a paperback thriller instead of something as mundane as restocking the first aid kit.

“Emergency rooms see a spike in visits during the summer as people spend more time outdoors and pursue activities they don’t have time for during the rest of the year,” said Trisha Carlson, Director of Clinical Quality and Education for National Healing Corporation, said in a release.

The local experts at Crittenton Wound Healing Center offer the following safety tips to help keep your summer accident and injury free.

Break in new shoes before wearing them on a hike or vacation.  People with diabetes, who are at a higher risk for chronic foot wounds, should always wear socks and avoid wearing sandals or shoes which can irritate the skin and lead to blisters.

Never make your own fireworks or relight a “dud.” For minor burns caused by fireworks, barbecue grills and campfires, relieve pain and prevent contamination by submerging the burn in cool water. Use sterile dressings, but don’t apply ointment or home remedies such as butter or petroleum jelly that may seal in heat or cause infection.

Avoid recreational water illnesses by following public health warnings posted at beaches and lakes since even very small amounts of sewage or animal waste can infect open sores or be swallowed.

For “swimmer’s itch,” an allergic skin rash caused by parasites in contaminated salt or fresh water, resist the impulse to scratch and soothe it with cool compresses, anti-itch lotion, corticosteroid cream or a paste made of baking soda.

Children, the elderly and those with high blood pressure have increased risk for heat exhaustion and, during warm days, should drink more water and stay away from beverages containing caffeine, alcohol or large amounts of sugar.

Always wash your hands after being outside because dirty hands are a primary source of infection.

Insect repellents can help reduce exposure to mosquito bites that may carry viruses. Use enough repellent to cover exposed skin but don’t apply it to cuts, wounds or irritated skin. Sweating or getting wet may require reapplying more, but a rule of thumb to follow is to reapply when mosquitoes begin to bite.

Most cases of Lyme disease occur in the spring and summer months putting campers, hikers and gardeners at greater risk. Choose light-colored clothing that enable ticks to be seen and cover your skin with long-sleeved shirts, long pants and a hat. Conduct a full-body check for ticks each night before going to bed after outdoor activities.

So remember, follow these tips to have a safe summer and enjoy your time in the Michigan sunshine!


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