Today is the first day of summer…so what?

Published 12:23 pm Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Today is the first day of summer 2022. The Northern Hemisphere dips toward the sun and bathes in direct sunlight for longer than any other time of the year.
For most summer began with the ending of the school year. And, weather-wise we have already had summertime temperatures with highs in the 90s. Many have already been on vacation, others are spending their weekend at the lake or river for rest and relaxation, some swimming or boating, perhaps some fishing and grilling.
When looking at the high price of gas, many have been just contest to stay at home.
Locally, there has already been a lot of activity downtown — music, the Saturday night car shows, bike races, and the annual drama “Liberty! The Saga of Sycamore Shoals.” Coming up is the last weekend of the drama, so if you haven’t had a chance to see the drama, you might purchase a ticket and go Friday or Saturday night.
Coming up will be the Fourth of July, and there will be a lot of fireworks, not only in Elizabethton, but at the lake and in neighboring cities.
Although we already have had some hot, sizzling days, this week promises to bring more summer heat. Soaring temperatures can be dangerous. And, as people celebrate the opportunity to gather with friends and family, it’s important to remember that with summer gatherings come risks, especially when there’s water involved, whether it be a pool, river, lake or ocean.
Children face the greatest risks.
According to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign and the National Safety Council, about 830 children ages 14 and under drown every year. Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional death in children ages 1 to 4, and an average of about 3,600 injuries a year occur to children due to a near-drowning. And most childhood drownings in pools occur at people’s homes.
Remember that young children are at risk of drowning even in shallow water. It’s imperative that a parent or other caregiver be keeping an eye on children in pools at all times, even if there are lifeguards. Looking away for just a moment can lead to disaster.
Here are a few water safety precautions from the National Safety Council:
• Never leave your child alone in or near water.
• Have your child learn to swim, but remember that does not eliminate the risk of drowning.
• If a child is missing, check the water first.
• Learn CPR and rescue techniques.
• Don’t let kids play around drains and suction fittings.
• Always have a first aid kit and emergency contacts handy.
Of course it’s not just children who face potential danger in the water. Overconfidence or inattentiveness among adults can lead to tragedy as well. Consider these tips from the National Safety Council:
• Don’t go in the water unless you know how to swim.
• Never swim alone.
• Make sure the body of water matches your skill
• If you get caught in a current, don’t try to fight it; stay calm and float with it, or swim parallel to the shore until free.
• Swim in areas supervised by a lifeguard.
• Don’t push or jump on others.
• Don’t dive in unfamiliar areas.
• Never drink alcohol when swimming.
Another common summer danger is the inevitable excessive heat that goes with the season. Soaring temperatures can be dangerous. People must take steps to protect themselves and loved ones.
The American Red Cross has advice to stay safe when it’s hot outside.
• Never leave children or pets in your vehicle.
• Stay hydrated but avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
• Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
• Avoid strenuous outdoor exercise during the hottest part of the day.
• Take frequent breaks if working outdoors.
• Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
If someone is experiencing heat cramps in the legs or abdomen, get them to a cooler place, lightly stretch the affected muscle and give them 4 ounces of cool water every 15 minutes.
If someone is exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion (cool, moist, pale or flushed skin, heavy sweating, headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness exhaustion), have them move to a cooler place, remove or loosen tight clothing and spray themselves with water or apply cool, wet cloths or towels to their skin. If they are conscious, ask them to drink small amounts of cool water. Make sure the person drinks slowly. Watch for changes in condition. If the person refuses water, vomits or begins to lose consciousness, call 9-1-1.
Be aware that heat stroke is life-threatening. Signs include hot, red skin that may be dry or moist; changes in consciousness; vomiting and high body temperature. Call 9-1-1 immediately if someone shows signs of heat stroke. Move the person to a cooler place if possible. Douse or spray the person with cold water, or cover the person with cold, wet towels or bags of ice.

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