5 Tips for Summer Safety

Posted on June 15, 2020 at 9:00 AM by Tom Swegle

An illustration of all of the things one might need to stay safe on an outdoor adventure

Summer is Here

As the temperature rises it becomes more apparent: summer is here. It is finally time to break out the hiking, camping, fishing, or hunting gear and hit the woods for some much needed outdoor time!

Before you go, it’s always a good idea to be prepared for dangers you may face while in the woods. To help you prepare, our experts have compiled a list of 5 Tips to help keep you safe while you take your adventure to the green.

1.     Brag about your Adventure

Instagram posts are great to share your adventure after the fact or even going live in real-time (if you have a signal), but be sure to let people know before you go and when you’ll be back. You can’t always count on a full battery or signal if you get in trouble, so letting people know roughly where you’ll be is a great way to ensure that if something happens, people will know where to find you.

Make sure to plan your trip and consider mapping out your course to get where you want to go. Share your plan with those you care about. In the best-case scenario, it’ll give you something to talk about when you get back; in the worst-case scenario, you’ll be glad you did.

2.     Outsmart the Sun

It is very important to apply broad-spectrum sunscreen no matter how long you’ll be in the sun. Your strongest exposure to the sun will be between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. so consider a morning or early evening trip if possible. If you must be in the sun during this time, bring sunscreen with you so you can reapply later.

You may think you will spend most of the time in the shade, or that a cloudy day will help shield you from the UV rays. Even if you spend the majority of your time under the cover of clouds, you're still in danger of sunburn. To be safe, consider applying sunscreen every couple hours as needed.

3.     Watch out for Bad Plants and Know How to Avoid Them

You’re reading this article on a poison ivy prevention site. You didn't really think we would forget about the danger of poisonous plants, did you? Remember the adage “leaves of 3, let it be” as a good guideline but keep in mind that not all harmful plants have only 3 leaves. Knowing how to identify dangerous plants on site is a great start, but we recommend keeping an illustrated field guide on your person just in case!

Also keep in mind that just because you don’t have direct contact with the plants does not mean that you haven’t been exposed to urushiol (the sticky oil produced by poison ivy, oak, and sumac and causes the irritation). Transmission can also occur due to indirect contact when you touch pets and objects that have had direct contact with the plant.

Believe it or not, airborne contact from burning these plants can also be severely dangerous, causing particulates of urushiol to penetrate the skin, eyes, or throat and cause damage to your respiratory system (and we once did a whole article on what you should do if exposed to poison ivy smoke). Internal allergic reactions can become life-threatening very quickly if not addressed.

4.     Stay Hydrated and Know the Signs of Dehydration

What do heat exhaustion, heat cramps, heatstroke/sunstroke, kidney failure, low blood volume, blood pressure, and seizures due to electrolyte loss have in common? They are all life-threatening complications related to untreated dehydration. Prolonged exposure to excessive heat without drinking fluids is when dehydration occurs.

To prevent dehydration, experts recommend drinking water every 20 minutes while exposed to excessive heat. If you’re not sure if you’re dehydrated, look out for the following signs:

  • Dry mouth

  • Dry skin

  • Feeling lightheaded or tired

  • Headaches

  • Dark-colored urine

  • Lack of sweating (despite the heat)

Staying hydrated can be as simple as drinking electrolyte heavy beverages and/or plenty of water.

5.     Keep the Bugs Back

That amazing perfume that your significant other got you may be great for them, but did you know that pretty scents are attractive to more than just your significant other? Biting insects such as mosquitoes are attracted to the scent of perfumes, hairsprays and scented soaps. Bug spray containing the chemical DEET is especially effective at keeping ticks and mosquitoes off you.

Avoiding areas where insects tend to gather such as puddles, pools of still water, and around dead animals is also a great idea.

If you’d like to protect yourself from at least one of these threats, make sure to take Outdoor Joe’s Poison Ivy Pro® to build your tolerance and reduce sensitivity to poison ivy! We encourage families to stay safe this summer, no matter where your adventure may take you.

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