What’s not to love about summer?
The days are longer. School is out. People get out on their boats and have barbecues and take vacations. These are just a few of the many reasons that summer holds such a special place in most Americans’ hearts.
Of course, the season is not without its downsides. Summer presents its own set of hazards that we should all be aware of. No one wants their summer vacation to be tainted by a serious injury or illness. Fortunately, being able to predict and identify risks is the best way to avoid them. That’s why we’ve prepared this list of 10 summer hazards, along with a couple of tips to help you avoid them.
Heat Stroke/Heat Illness
Hundreds of people in the United States die heat-related deaths every year. As the temperature rises, so does our vulnerability to heat stroke. If you work outdoors or participate in outdoor activities, you should always stay well hydrated and pace yourself. People develop a tolerance to the heat, but that tolerance can drop dramatically even after a few days away from regular activity in high temperatures.
Heat-Related Car Deaths
Every year in the United States, around 37 children die because of excessive heat inside a vehicle. These tragic deaths typically occur when a parent forgets their child is in the backseat. This often happens because a parent is stressed, distracted or breaks a normal routine.
Every day in the United States, around 10 people die from drowning. It is the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury-related death. Parents should be especially mindful of this threat during the summer months: Approximately one out of every five drowning deaths occurs among children ages 0 to 14. If your children take to the water, make sure they wear flotation devices and are kept under supervision.
As tempting as it may be to think of sunburns as minor injuries that happen when we spend a little too much time in the sun, we should never ignore the dangers of too much sun exposure. A single blistering sunburn can double a person’s chance of developing melanoma. If you or your children will be in the sun, make sure to wear sunscreen with a sun protecting factor (SPF) of 30 or more. When possible, take shade from the sun and avoid exposure during the peak hours of the day (from approximately 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.).
Over 80,000 people are treated in emergency rooms every year because of lawn mower injuries. These injuries occur for many reasons. People who mow in sandals or flip-flops are at risk for being cut by a blade. Children and anyone else near a mower are also at risk for flying projectiles launched from the blades. Always wear proper attire, keep children away when mowing and never let a child sit on your lap when on a riding lawn mower.
Certain types of vehicle accidents are more likely to occur in the summer. For example, AAA labels the 100 days following Memorial Day as the 100 Deadliest Days because crashes involving teen drivers increase during the summer season. New teen drivers are also three times as likely as more experienced drivers to be involved in a crash.
Poisonous Plant Exposure
Whether hiking or working outdoors, be mindful of the dangerous plants that pop up in the summer. Approximately 13 million workers will be exposed to poisonous plants while on the job. Learn to identify poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac so that you might avoid them.
Several types of insects pose a threat during the hottest months of the year. Mosquitoes spread many types of illnesses. Mosquitos are most prevalent during dawn and dusk. Ticks can carry Lyme disease. Bees and wasps can also be harmful for those with an allergic reaction. Always wear bug spray before going outdoors to avoid bug or insect bites. Exposure can also be reduced by wearing long pants and shirts, especially in wooded areas.
Nearly 12,000 firework-related injuries are treated in emergency rooms every year in the United States. Almost half of all fires that occur on the 4th of July are started by fireworks. If possible, leave the fireworks to the professionals. Always water down fireworks after they’ve gone off and place them far away from buildings or flammable objects.
Every year, around 1 in 6 Americans become ill because of contaminated food and drinks. During the summer months, people flock to potlucks, cookouts and barbecues. Food that is exposed to several people or left out for long periods is more likely to contain pathogens that cause illness. If you go to one of these events, avoid food that has been sitting out for a long time, and make sure that your wash your hands frequently.
This list represents some of the most obvious summer dangers, but there are others you might want to keep in mind, too. For example, grills – both gas and charcoal – can present burn and fire hazards if not maintained and monitored. Flash floods and lightning strikes are also extremely dangerous and more likely in the summer months. Dangerous pathogens thrive in natural bodies of water in the summer. Even violent crimes increase in the summertime. In other words, the list of summer dangers is a long one.
However, while there are obviously many ways in which people can suffer illness and injury in the summer, it is worth noting that almost everything on the list above can be avoided through awareness and proper planning. No season comes without its own set of risks and rewards. Familiarize yourself with these risks and you can ensure that both you and your loved ones have a great summer.
The Louthian Law Firm has been assisting injured workers for decades, ensuring that they get the compensation they deserve. If you’d like to learn more about your legal options, contact Bert Louthian to schedule a free consultation. Call us today at (888) 303-1209 or fill out our online contact form to get started.