Winter has finally given way to spring. As happy as I am that temperatures have risen, there are many things that we must keep in mind with this change. Outdoor activities are increasing, which means our awareness must go up for what could injure us. I will touch on some things that come to mind, but know that there are many others that we must watch out for.
One of the first things to remember is to stay hydrated. Temperatures have already made it to the 90s, increasing the possibility of each of us becoming overheated. Dehydration can come on acutely, but it normally comes on over a period of days. Hydration also requires the right fluid. Water is the best fluid for this. It is necessary to drink water whether you are thirsty or not. We tend to drink less when we are less active, which leads to a greater chance of becoming dehydrated on more strenuous days. Once a person becomes dehydrated, he usually needs more than water due to an electrolyte imbalance. Keep in mind, soft drinks, tea and coffee are loaded with caffeine and sugar, which are enemies of hydration. The initial step to take once overheated is to get out of the hot environment into a cool environment. Attempting to hydrate will depend on the amount of nausea and vomiting. One may have to receive intravenous fluids. If necessary, call 911.
Children, pets and the elderly should not be left in a hot vehicle for any length of time. Vehicles can quickly reach temperatures of 120-130 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not tell yourself that you will only be inside for a moment. Distractions happen everywhere. If you find a vehicle not running with a pet or any person inside, this constitutes a possible emergency. The safest thing for you to do is to call 911. If you feel that the occupants are in danger, then you need to get them out whatever that entails.
As the grass grows, lawn mowers and weed eaters are in great demand. It is important to wear proper safety equipment, appropriate to the equipment being used. You only have one set of eyes and ears, so protect them. Gas-operated equipment needs to cool before refueling. Make sure that you check your lawn for things that could become missiles if run over by a lawn mower.
Switching gears a bit, remember that bees, wasps and hornets are active. If you are allergic to bee stings, be sure to have your epinephrine pen close by. Life-threatening allergies warrant a medical alert necklace or bracelet. You might want to ensure that family, friends and coworkers know about your allergies or other pertinent medical conditions, before anaphylaxis sets in.
The last thing that I will remind everyone about is the danger associated with fertilizers, pesticides and pool chemicals.
It is imperative that you read all instructions and labels for a chemical. Make sure you know and follow proper use and application of chemicals. Prevent exposure and contamination if possible. If exposed or contaminated, you will want to know what needs to be done to decontaminate. If signs and symptoms begin to show, you may need to call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
I hope that each of you have a great spring and summer. Stay vigilant and stay safe. Enjoy the outdoors while watching out for yourself, your family and those that you are with.
As previously stated, this is only a partial list of the many things that could happen. Do not let your guard down.