- School is out, days are long, the weather's great — what's not to love about summer? But our favorite season comes with some risks — heat, sun, water and food safety issues can throw a wrench in even the best-laid plans. A little preparedness, with help from APHA's Get Ready campaign, will help you with what you need to know to make this summer a great and safe one.
Hydration is key.
- Water is essential for survival. Without hydration your body simply wouldn't be able to function properly. But you must make sure your water is safe to drink first. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency suggests testing your water once a year for different contaminants. Testing your water more than once a year is recommended if you have recently changed pipes, pipe casing, pumps or entirely replaced your well.
- If you notice a change in water clarity, odor or color you may need to look into replacing your water source. County health departments are a great resource that may help with testing water for nitrates or bacteria. If your county health department is unable to help you, call a state certified laboratory to help with the process. Contact the State Drinking Water Hotline at 800-426-4791 or visit the EPA website to find one in your area.
Water safety includes the water you swim in, too!
- Recreational water illnesses are caused by the spread of germs through contact with or swallowing or breathing in of contaminated water in swimming pools, oceans, water arenas, interactive fountains, rivers, water play areas, lakes and hot tubs. Diarrhea is the most common recreational water illness, and others include eye, wound, neurological, respiratory, skin and ear infections.
- Staying healthy and keeping germs out of the water is easy! Just follow these simple steps: 1) Stay out of the water if you have diarrhea. 2) Shower before you get in the water. 3) Don't pee or poop in the water. 4) Don't swallow the water.
- Before going to the beach, EPA suggests verifying the safety of the beach with your local Beach Health Monitoring official. Ask them: What are the primary sources of pollution that affect this beach? What do you test for? Where can I see the test results and who can explain it to me? Which beaches do you test?
- If your beach is not monitored regularly, avoid swimming after a heavy rain. Look for storm drains along the beach and don't swim near them. If you see trash or other signs of pollution in the water, this may be a sign of disease-causing microorganisms in the water, so avoid the beach all together. Call your local health or environmental protection official if you think your water is contaminated. It is important for them to know so they can protect community members from exposure.
Heat can hurt.
- Heat can have numerous negative effects on the body, including dry skin and body exhaustion.
- Following safety tips such as wearing light clothing and seeking air conditioning can make all the difference even in the most intense heat of the summer.
Stay safe in the sun.