At this point in the year, kids are well into summer break and the weekends are now meant for barbecuing, swimming in the pool or lake, and generally relaxing outside. Of course, with the season comes numerous other outdoor activities—and associated risks. You obviously want to have fun while swimming, hiking, camping, and otherwise enjoying the warmth, but it’s imperative to understand how to stay safe in order to prevent summer injuries. With the proper knowledge, you can work to avoid sunburn, dehydration, heatstroke, and other injuries leaving you safe and able to enjoy the rest of your summer!
Summer Sports Injuries
Baseball, softball, skateboarding, and other outdoor sports provide endless fun after a long winter indoors. Playing on a sports league is one great way to stay active—but if you’re not careful, you could end up getting injured. Almost every sport carries a risk of falling or tripping. Not only can this produce cuts, scrapes, and bruises, but a more serious fall can result in concussions, a sprained ankle or wrist, or even broken bones.
If you are playing a new sport, consider joining a team or hiring a coach to bring you up to speed safely. Your coach will be able to work with you to improve your technique and get started with some conditioning that will help prevent injuries.
When we think of summer, swimming is most definitely involved. Who doesn’t love to head to the lake or lounge in the pool on a hot 85-degree day? Swimming is another great way to stay active throughout the summer. While being in the water can be a great way to spend your summer days, it doesn’t come without risk, especially for those who don’t know how to swim properly.
The chances of drowning are significantly higher for young or inexperienced swimmers. Always make sure you are swimming with a buddy, even if you are a strong swimmer. If you’re swimming in a lake, be aware of your surroundings. Never dive straight in if you cannot see the bottom, and always make sure that there is a lifeguard on duty when at a public swimming pool.
Another risk of swimming that isn’t often thought about in the summer is hypothermia. Typically, public pools are required to have the water at a certain temperature, but if you’re swimming in a large lake, temperatures can vary quite a bit. If you start to feel chilly and shiver, remove yourself from the water and warm up with a towel.
Hiking can be a perfect way to enjoy a sunset over some of Minnesota’s most beautiful vistas, but it can also be dangerous if you aren’t prepared. Long, strenuous hikes put you at risk of dehydration, heat exhaustion, muscle cramping, falls, and more. If you’re hiking in the sun, make sure to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and a hat. You should also pack bug spray to avoid any unwanted insect-borne illnesses, such as Lyme disease from ticks.
Make sure that you research your hike before you head out in order to avoid getting lost or stranded, and always bring a map. It’s especially important to also prepare physically for a hike. Hiking requires balance and strength in order to avoid injury, especially if you are planning on hiking more than a few miles.
Sunburn, Dehydration, and Heat Exhaustion
We all love the hot, summer sun and warm temperatures, but it can bring some unwanted risks, like sunburn, dehydration, and heat exhaustion. Sunburns not only hurt but can increase your risk of developing skin cancer. It’s always important to wear sunscreen with SPF when you’re outside during the daylight—even if you’ll only be spending a few minutes outside!
Your risk of developing dehydration and heat exhaustion also increases during this time. It’s important to always stay hydrated with water and avoid spending long periods in the sun. If you like to be outside, try finding a shady area where you are able to escape the sun if need be. Dehydration and heat exhaustion can develop into serious medical emergencies, so it’s important to be prepared with fluids, shade, and protective clothing in order to prevent these conditions from occurring.
Trust The Urgency Room with Your Care
Don’t let injuries or illness take away from all of your summer fun. Instead, let the board-certified emergency room physicians at The Urgency Room take care of you effectively and efficiently so that you can get back to enjoying spending time outdoors in this beautiful weather. We are open seven days a week, 365 days a year in three convenient locations—Eagan, Vadnais Heights, or Woodbury.