Fun in the Sun. With the arrival of the hot summer sun, many find themselves outdoors trying to soak up the rays while they last. We all know how dangerous the sun’s ultraviolet rays are, however, it is possible to enjoy the outdoors and protect yourself at the same time.  First, make sure to wear sunscreen.  A waterproof lotion of SPF 15 is best and should be applied before going outside, after swimming and periodically throughout the day.  Lip balm and sunglasses with SPF protection are effective at protecting your lips and eyes.  Wide brimmed hats are also a good way to protect your face, as well as your scalp — where it may be hard to apply sunscreen.  Try to avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when UV rays are the strongest.

According to Margaret Bruya, assistant dean for academic health services at the WSU Intercollegiate College of Nursing and a nurse practitioner at People’s Clinic, quick treatment of a sunburn is essential for faster relief and healing. “In case of sunburn, be careful not to burn the same area again.  Do not puncture blisters or apply household items to soothe.  If the burn covers a large area, is second- or third-degree or is on a young child, seek immediate medical attention.”

Campfire Cautions. Summer camping outings wouldn’t be complete without a campfire, but make sure your campsite remains safe by following basic fire safety precautions.  Keep fires in a contained area, and never leave the fire unattended.  When using a camp stove, fire pit or barbecue, don’t cover hot coals with sand; this creates an oven effect raising the temperature and makes it invisible to others who might inadvertently step on the hot spot.  Always extinguish fires with water.  Make sure to shield your face and eyes from the smoke and steam. Never apply charcoal fluid to hot coals directly from the can; this can result in a stream of fire and injure the holder of the can.

“Fire burns, particularly this time of year, are made worse by continued exposure to the sun and improper and on-going treatment,” said Margaret Bruya, assistant dean for Academic Health Services at the WSU Intercollegiate College of Nursing and a nurse practitioner at People’s Clinic. “The burned area should continue to be protected and treated until it is completely healed, as you risk permanent scarring and infection otherwise.”

Firework Safety. The Fourth of July is fast approaching, and basic fireworks safety is essential.  According to the National Council on Fireworks Safety, the most important thing is to read and follow all operating instructions carefully.  Always have an adult present and never give fireworks to small children.  Be sure to buy fireworks from reliable sellers and never try to make your own.  The shooter should always wear eye protection and never have any part of the body over the firework.  Only use fireworks outdoors; light only one at a time, and be sure to have water handy (like a garden hose or water bucket).  Never re-light a “dud” firework; wait 15 minutes then dispose of it properly.  Dispose of fireworks by soaking them in water for 15-20 minutes then place them in your trash can.

First Aid Must Haves. A personal first aid kit is especially handy during the on-the-go summer months. According to experts from the Nemours Foundation your first aid kit should include a first-aid manual, sterile gauze, adhesive tape/bandages of all sizes, antiseptic wipes and solution (like hydrogen peroxide), soap, antibiotic cream (triple-antibiotic ointment), acetaminophen and ibuprofen, tweezers, sharp scissors, calamine lotion, a flashlight and extra batteries, a blanket, disposable instant cold packs, a thermometer and your list of emergency phone numbers.

“It’s a good idea to keep a first aid kit in the car, in the boat or other summer recreational vehicle, vacation house and near the pool, so it’s handy no matter where your summer plans take you,” said Margaret Bruya, assistant dean for Academic Health Services at the WSU Intercollegiate College of Nursing and a nurse practitioner at People’s Clinic.

For assistance reaching Bruya, bruyam@wsu.edu, contact Nielsen or Gamelin.