Information from The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center:
There are 4 key areas related to summer safety travel, swimming/water safety, heat/sun safety, and insect safety. Why summer safety? Some statistics:
- About 1,700 cases of U.S. travelers abroad get malaria each year.
- Motor vehicle crashes are #1 killer of healthy U.S. citizens abroad.
- Each year there is about 3,500 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boating related) in U.S.—about 10 deaths per day. (additional 332 people from boating accidents)
- 1 in 5 drowning deaths are children ages 14 and younger. For every child who dies from drowning, another 5 receive ER care for nonfatal submersion injuries.
- More than 50% of drowning victims treated in ERs require hospitalization or further care.
- Heat kills more than 600 people in the U.S. every year—so preventing heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and sunburn are important.
- Extreme heat poses the greatest risk for people under age 4 and over age 65 and those with pre-existing medical conditions or who lives in homes without air conditioning.
- Mosquitoes are one of the deadliest creatures in the world. Mosquito-borne diseases include the Zika virus, dengue, malaria, West Nile virus, chikungunya, yellow fever, and others. Worldwide mosquitoes cause over 2.7 million deaths ever year—with over 500 million cases of mosquito-borne diseases annually.
- In 2018, there were about 54,000 vector-borne disease cases in the U.S.
- Check CDC traveler’s website for health updates and health concerns.
- Make appointments for vaccines/anti-malarial medications, etc., at least one month prior to travel.
- Make copies of your passport to have in each luggage piece.
- Pack a travel health kit (prescription & over the counter medications, first aid supplies, health insurance card, etc.).
- Enroll in the U.S. State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) for the latest safety updates and assistance during an emergency.
- Leave copies of your itinerary, contact information, credit cards, and passport with someone at home.
- Check your health insurance plan for coverage abroad. If not covered, consider purchasing additional health care and emergency evacuation coverage.
- Wear seatbelts & choose safe transportation.
- Drink bottled, sealed beverages, very hot coffee/tea, and avoid ice.
- Check out the latest inspection score of pools where you plan to swim. Look for inspection scores online or on site.
- Never swim alone.
- Never leave small children unattended by water.
- Make sure drains are visible at bottom of the pool.
- Check for lifeguards. If no lifeguards are present, locate safety equipment (rescue ring/pole).
- Use the restroom prior to enter the pool. Take kids on bathroom breaks and check diapers every hour.
- Stay out of the water if you have diarrhea, open cuts/wounds, and rinse off for 1 minute prior to getting in the pool and after you get out.
- Dry ears thoroughly after swimming.
- If swimming in open water (lakes, rivers, beaches), check for warnings and safety information.
- Wash your hands prior to eating food or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Heat safety tips:
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day. When working in the heat, drink 1 cup (8 ounces) of water every 15-20 minutes—or 24-32 ounces per hour). Drinking at shorter intervals is more effectives. Don’t drink more than 48 ounces per hours.
- Wear light and loose-fitting clothing.
- Wear hats, sunglasses and long sleeves for outdoor activities.
- Use a high SPF sunscreen to protect against sunburn. Unprotected skin can burn in as little as 15 minutes but can take up to 12 hours for skin to show the damage. Wear sunscreen on sunny & cloudy days.
- Stay out of the sun between 10am-4pm when possible (when UV rays are at their highest levels).
- Stay in the shade when possible.
- Stay in air conditioning during hot hours.
- Pay attention to heat advisories.
Insect safety tips:
- Eliminate standing water (any amount).
- Use insect repellent.
- Plant citronella, basil, marigolds, catnip, lavender and lemon balm.
- Keep your yard tidy