Summer plans still ahead? Stay safe with these cool tips

July 8, 2021  //  FOUND IN: Updates & Resources,

Art fairs, outdoor concerts, carnivals and more are back on this year after taking a pandemic-related hiatus in 2020.

On top of that, the State of Michigan has seen a sharp uptick in reservations at campgrounds and state parks.

Clearly, residents are ready to make the most of the summer!

If you’re planning on spending ample time outdoors over the next few months (including at the Ann Arbor Art Fair, set to kick off on Thursday, July 15), be sure you take some basic precautions to keep yourself and those around you safe!

Water is your friend

No matter the weather, drinking water is important. But it becomes even more vital during the hot summer months. Water replenishes the fluids you lose when you sweat and even helps protect you against sun burns.

Keep a water bottle with you at all times. And no, alcohol or sugary and caffeinated drinks do not work as a handy fill-in. They simply will cause your body to become even more dehydrated.

Protect yourself

Skin damage is a major risk while outdoors because the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays are currently at their strongest. Wear a broad-brimmed hat and tight-knit, sun-protective clothing. And be sure to slather on the sunscreen (at least an SPF-30 broad-spectrum product) and reapply it regularly.

Finally, if outdoors for long periods of time, take some breaks in the shade, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Even those measures won’t prevent all sun burns. If you do get burned, don’t waste time treating the injury:

  • Moisturize your skin while it is still damp with Aloe Vera or soy.
  • Let blisters heal, since they are your body’s natural way of protecting itself against further damage.
  • Drink water: The fluid in your body will automatically be used to help treat the burn, so be sure to replenish so that you don’t get dehydrated.
  • Take a cool shower: Once you’ve finished, you can keep your skin damp by just patting yourself dry.
  • Take ibuprofen or Tylenol to reduce redness or swelling.

Check your skin regularly

Sun burns aren’t the only danger of ultraviolet rays.

Over time, unprotected exposure to the sun can predispose a person to skin cancer (the most common form of cancer in the U.S.) and accelerated aging.

So after a day outside, and at least once a month year-round, take a look at your skin.

Click here for a Q&A with Kelly B. Cha, M.D., Ph.D., a Michigan Medicine dermatologist and skin cancer expert, who discusses how to best detect and prevent skin cancer.

Know the warning signs of heat-related illness

Pay attention to how you or those around you are feeling. Dizziness, nausea and headaches are often a sign of heat-related illness such as dehydration or heat stroke. So if any of those symptoms are present, get help immediately.

Monitor the weather

As everyone knows, Michigan’s weather is unpredictable!

Floods (as we saw last month), tornadoes and lightning are all threats that come with summer thunderstorms, which can hit quickly. Plan ahead by following media or social media reports. You may also want to download an app to your phone to anticipate weather for the day.

Should a storm hit, find shelter immediately, indoors and away from windows, if at all possible.

These tips should help you enjoy all that Michigan has in store over the next few months.

Happy summer, Michigan Medicine!