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Keep summer activities safe

Summer is finally here after a winter that seemed to last forever! Along with warmer weather comes many of us enjoying outdoor activities that carry some health risks.

As you enjoy time outdoors, keep in mind these summer safety tips.

 1. Use sunscreen. Our skin is the largest organ in the body and our first line of defense. Using sunscreen keeps this organ healthy and protects it from harmful UV rays that can cause cancer, premature skin aging, and discolorations. An SPF of 30 or higher is the recommendation. Also, when choosing a daily moisturizer, opting for one that has added SPF is another way to protect your face.

2. Stay safe on the water. Please make sure you have lifejackets for everyone in the watercraft. These are not only suggested but required by law. Even the best of swimmers could get tired and perish if thrown overboard. Follow Minnesota DNR boating regulations regarding flotation devices and carbon monoxide detection. Also, alcohol and boating do not mix. Alcohol use is the No. 1 factor in boating fatalities according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Making sure you have a responsible driver is essential. Drunk boating is drunk driving.

3. Stay hydrated. Extensive physical activity outside in high temperatures can deplete the body of fluid volume, electrolytes, and minerals that the body needs. Drinking plenty of water, sports drinks, and taking breaks inside or at a cool shaded area are essential to prevent heat illness and even heat stroke.

4. Check for ticks. Deer ticks are known to carry Lyme disease. According to the CDC, a few tips to prevent tick bites are to: Know where to expect ticks. They like to live in grassy, brush-covered or wooded areas. After you come inside, examine yourself and any pets, and shower soon after being outdoors. Showering within two hours of coming indoors has been shown to reduce the risk of getting Lyme disease.

“At Riverwood Healthcare Center, our award-winning emergency room staff is always prepared to treat patients with urgent injuries or illness,” said Dr. David Taylor, chief medical officer and emergency medicine physician at Riverwood. “Our physicians and nurses have many hours of trauma and critical care continuing education and training to better treat you and your loved ones, or transfer patients to a larger trauma system when needed. Don’t ever hesitate to call 9-1-1 for any medical emergencies.”