Winter has finally lost its grip on the area and spring and summer temperatures are driving many outside to play and work in the sun.
Dr. Paige Hatcher of St. Luke Physician Clinic said the best way to ensure fun this summer is through prevention.
“We see more sun related issues such as sunburn, dehydration, and heat stroke in the summer,” she said.
The primary cause of serious injury depends on the age, Hatcher said. Older and younger people are more likely to be affected by the heat, while for average adults motor vehicle accidents are a bigger concern, especially with recreational vehicles.
“It’s critical to wear proper protective gear such as helmets and life jackets and avoid alcohol,” Hatcher said. “In our community lacerations are also common from equipment use or recreation, like fishing.”
Hatcher said any wound that doesn’t stop bleeding should be considered serious and be treated immediately.
It is better to get out and get moving and risk injury than to hide indoors though, Hatcher said.
“An injury is unfortunate, but a sedentary lifestyle is much more often deadly,” she said.
For those who do get outside, over exposure of the sun can cause skin cancer, even in eyes, so make sure every part is protected.
For those who don’t often venture into the heat, or are veterans, the rules are the same, plenty of sunscreen, water, food, and protective clothing.
She recommends applying sunscreen early and often.
“Do it before you put on your clothes so that you don’t miss any spots and reapply if you get sweaty or wet,” she said.
Other preventative sun and heat measures are avoiding the hottest parts of the day, and wearing hats and sunglasses to avoid sunburns of the scalp and eyes, which can be excruciating.
“Shorts and tank tops feel cooler, but actually make you more vulnerable because more of your body is exposed to the sun,” Hatcher said.
Other things to think of include bug spray and watching for poison ivy.
“We see lots of that as soon as weather warms up,” Hatcher said.
Poison ivy and bug bites usually take care of themselves with some discomfort, but if it lasts more than a couple of days, a prescription might be needed, Hatcher said.