When summer officially kicked off last month, no one knew what kind of season would lie ahead of us as we continued our battle against COVID-19. The outdoors has since emerged as a kind of safe haven for those looking to stay active and socialize safely. With this emphasis on outdoor activities, now is a good time to remember that in addition to wearing a mask and staying six feet apart, there are other safety precautions that can keep you and your family safe as you spend more time in the water and in the sun.
Pool safety begins even before anyone sticks their toes into the water. According to the Centers for Disease Control, drowning is the second-leading cause of injury-related death in children between the ages of 1 and 14. Children under 4 years old can drown in as little as 1 inch of water. For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency care for non-fatal submersion injuries that can cause severe brain damage.
To ensure a safe swimming season for you and your family, please consider the following recommendations: Keep constant watch when children are swimming or playing near water. Drownings occur quickly and quietly, so adults should stay alert and be close enough to reach children at all times. Always have an unobstructed view of the pool, and if a child is missing, check the pool first. It is good practice to familiarize children with water depths and identify safe areas. Formal swimming lessons can help protect young children from drowning, but supervision and barriers to prevent unsupervised access are still important. Alarms on doors and the surface of the pool can provide additional safety, and always have a phone and emergency phone numbers easily accessible. Remember that cardiopulmonary resuscitation skills are lifesaving, so if it is possible, get trained in CPR.
According to the CDC, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, and the most preventable cause is overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. The sun’s UV rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes. To protect yourself and your family from the sun’s harm- ful rays, the CDC recommends the following: Stay in the shade, especially midday.
We have experienced some high temperatures in July. During a heat wave, it is important to stay cool and hydrate. Drink more water than usual and cut down on exercise. Check on those most at-risk, such as elderly family members, two times a day. Of the utmost importance, do not leave children or pets in cars.
A few mosquito samples in Bay Shore and Holtsville have tested positive for West Nile virus. Suffolk County health commissioner Dr. Gregson Pigott is advising residents to reduce their exposure to West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases by minimizing outdoor activities between dusk and dawn, wearing shoes, socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts when mosquitoes are active; using mosquito repellent; and making sure all windows and doors have screens.
Additionally, ticks can transmit Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis and other illnesses. Check yourself, your children and your pets for ticks, especially if you have spent time in grassy or wooded areas.
Also, note that the Suffolk County Department of Public Works, Division of Vector Control, sprays communities to control mosquito infestations. Although the chances of experiencing any health effects from spraying are low, there are things you can do to reduce possible exposure. Children and pregnant women should avoid exposure when practical and remain inside or avoid the area when spraying takes place and for about 30 minutes afterward. Close windows, doors and air-condition vents until about 30 minutes after spraying. Before spraying takes place, pick homegrown fruits and vegetables you expect to eat soon, and rinse produce with water before cooking or eating. Bring laundry, small toys, and pet food and water dishes inside before spraying. For more information, call the Spraying Information Hotline at 631-852-4939.