(Photo by USAG Bavaria)
By Laura Garcia, program specialist with Army Substance Abuse Program (ASAP)
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany – People crave the sun, and there is so much of it during the summer months. But as we enjoy the longer days and comfortable nights, there are still hazards we need to be aware of and prevent.
- Too much heat can bring several problems, such as heat exhaustion, heat stroke, dehydration, disorientation and even death. Be careful with heat and play it safe. Remember to hydrate, stay cool and take breaks from the heat.
- Believe it or not, being fatigued can be a danger to our safety. When we are tired , our reactions to very simple things become muddied. If we are operating vehicles — cars, motorcycles and boats — our reaction time may not be quick enough to avoid a collision. And if we are near water, we may not have the strength to swim or our bodies may cramp. Remain well rested to eliminate unnecessary risk.
- Too much sun exposure can result in a variety of health issues. Aside from heat exhaustion and stroke, sunburns can be a very real threat to our health. Repeated sunburns can lead to skin damage, dry and wrinkled skin and even skin cancer. One way to combat this is with a good sunscreen, applied numerous times during the day and both before and after going into the water. Remember, one time application is not enough.
- Stinging nettle, giant hogweed and foxglove are all poisonous plants that grow in Germany. If you go hiking in the woods, make sure you know what these plants look like and stay clear. You do not want to spend the next few weeks dealing with the consequences, if you accidentally brush up against them.
- Summer picnics and barbecues are wonderful, but be aware of food borne illnesses. Keep raw meats away from other food items, and consider using a meat thermometer to ensure the food is being cooked all the way through. Also, consider storing drinks and food items in separate coolers, since the drink cooler is usually opened more frequently.
Lastly before you venture outdoors, let someone know where you are going. Share your itinerary with a trusted neighbor or friend — just in case. If you face difficulties during your trip, someone should know your whereabouts. And if you know first aid and keep an emergency kit nearby, then all the better.
The 2020 Summer Sense Campaign runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day. So every Wednesday, listen for ASAP’s broadcast segment on AFN Bavaria. Then return to this article for the discussed recipes, quizzes and more.