Summer is one of my favorite times of the year. The sun stays out longer in the summer, the weather is nearly perfect, weekends are spent by the pool with an ice-cold drink in your hand, and it’s perfect for long nights on the patio working, or walks downtown on the canal. On any given night during the summer, you can take in an Indianapolis Indians baseball game at Victory Field. You can head over to the Indianapolis Zoo and check out some exotic animals. Eat your dinner outside, enjoy drinks with friends on the patio, or simply stare up at the stars in the arms of your significant other. Man, I just love summer.
But as enjoyable as the summer months are, you still need to pay attention to your surroundings. From the swimming pool to the water fountains, I wanted to leave you with a few tips on how you can stay safe this summer. So grab your beach towel and sunscreen, and lets talk about your summer safety.
Riding Your Bike
The summer months allow for great mountain biking weather. You can grab the bike and head to the grocery store on the corner, or head out into the middle of nowhere and just ride until you can’t ride any longer. But when riding, make sure you use precaution. Always wear a helmet when riding your bike. I know it sounds silly, and that you don’t think you could actually get hurt riding a bicycle, but it does happen. It happens more than you might think.
Also, when on your bike remember that you have to follow the same rules as if you were behind the wheel. If you see a stop sign, then stop. If there are street signals ahead, pay attention to them. You, on a bike, are just the same as a motorist. And if you are biking with friends, try to always bike in a single line. This will help you stay focused on the road ahead and elevate any distractions.
Diving into the Deep Zone
Swimming might be my favorite part of the summer. Nothing beats lying in the sun all day, or diving into the closest pool to cool off. From swimming in your backyard to scuba diving in the ocean, swimming can be relaxing and extremely enjoyable. For those of you who know how to swim, anyway.
Never swim alone. You never know, even if you are a good swimmer, when something could happen. This is especially important when swimming in lakes, rivers, or oceans. I have been to the ocean, and it is nothing to joke with. There are hardly ever lifeguards present, and you can get into trouble quite quickly on your favorite beach.
Also, if you are swimming with children, keep an eye out. Kids can get into trouble in a hurry, and waves can simply rip them under the water if you are not careful. Floaties and life jackets are a good idea when swimming with kids. It’s quick and easy to throw a life jacket on a kid who has not learned the proper techniques of swimming yet. They may think it looks silly, but at least you know they’ll be safe.
Dangerous Weather Ahead
In the Midwest, the summer months can pack the worst storms. During the month of June this year, Indiana hit record highs in the amount of rain we got. It seemed like day after day it was storming, and I am talking serious storms. Hail and tornado producing storms. They would roll through for an hour or so and then just simply be gone. For one solid week, we had a storm almost every single evening.
If you are stuck in a storm, seek shelter indoors. You don’t want to risk getting caught in a flood zone or being hit by lightning. And it should go without saying, but do not carry around metal objects when it is storming. The last thing you want to do is be carrying around a metal object when there is lightning in the area. Sure, you can live through a lightning strike. But I am not willing to learn how it feels just to prove my point.
All Sorts of Sports
Sports are a great way to spend your summer vacation. From soccer to football, baseball, and golf, sports are around every corner weather permitting. Sometimes even when the weather is not permitting. When playing sports, make sure you play in a safe area that is away from roads or streets. Even a ball rolling into the street can be dangerous, if not for you but for motorists trying to make his or her way from point A to point B. Also, wear proper sporting gear. If you are playing baseball, and you are the catcher, wear a glove, mask, and pads. If you are playing football, then suit up and throw on some padding. You don’t want to get hurt playing sports and have to sit out the rest of the season. Play prepared.
Are You Thirsty?
This summer, make sure you drink lots of water. Actually, you should always drink lots of water, but more so when it’s hot. You should allow yourself the chance to take a few minutes off every half an hour or so, or whenever you feel tired. It’s okay to be tired when the heat is on. So take a few minutes, catch your breath, and make sure you are drinking lots of fluids to replenish yourself. Playing sports will require you to drink even more. You should be drinking eight glasses of water a day anyway, and during the summer, that number can only go up. You can never drink too much water.
Something Just Bit Me
Insects are prime during the summer. And if you find yourself hiking, biking, or walking the trails of some random mountain of forest, they can get even worse. On a recent trip to Forest Dunes Golf Club in Roscommon, Michigan, I met some bugs that I had never seen before. They were all over the place. Each golf cart actually came with a bottle of organic bug spray to help keep golfers protected during their games. I ended up getting some higher strength bug spray because even during the evening, while sitting out by the lake on the beach, the bugs were in full force.
A good way to help protect against bugs is to wear long pants and long sleeve shirts. Of course, it is the summer and it will be hot outside, but it will allow for less skin for bugs to feast on. Also, if applicable, always wear socks. You never can be too careful when it comes to protecting yourself against bug bites. And if and when you do get bit, try not to scratch. That will just make it worse.
That is One Bright Sun
The sun is very bright. And the sun can start doing damage to your skin almost immediately. So when going outside, especially for long periods of time, make sure you are wearing sunscreen. SPF 15 is a start, but try something closer to 35-50. Sure, it will take longer for you to get a tan that way, but for every time your sun gets burned, it increases the potential for skin cancer. And trust me, skin cancer is not something you want to take lightly.
I play golf, meaning I am on the course for hours at a time. I put on lotion before I head to the driving range, right before I tee off on hole number one, and then again at the turn. Hotter months mean sweat, so make sure you grab one that is waterproof. Other ways to protect yourself from the sun are wearing sunglasses, large hats that can provide some shade, and covering your lips and eyes as much as possible. They even make lip balm that has sunscreen in it to help protect from burns leading to chapped lips.
These are just some quick pointers on how you can stay safe this summer. Use precaution, prepare for the hot days and the sunny afternoons, and make sure you are always thinking. The smarter you are this summer will allow you more time to play by the pool and more time around the greens on the golf course. Stay safe this summer, and enjoy the weather!