School’s STILL out, scream and shout!
Summertime is not typically a challenging time of year to keep your schedules full. Between regular care appointments to those unfortunate mishaps resulting from outdoor summer fun, you will likely not need or have time to spend trying to acquire new patients or recall your existing patients in order to keep the slots filled.
Summertime is prime time for family fun activities and most of those require being outdoors which can come with many health and safety hazards. Keeping your patients educated on ways to stay safe and healthy during the hot summer months lets them know you genuinely care. Send a summer patient newsletter with these tips on how to keep those screams and shouts to ones of excitement:
- Heat stroke- It’s far too common for people active with summertime sports and kids busy at play to forget to stay hydrated. Keep a jug or pitcher of ice water, lemonade or iced tea out on the counter. If it’s visible and easily accessible, kids will be more likely to drink more throughout the day. Don’t forget to drink!!
- Water safety- Unfortunately, every summer, we hear tragic stories of child drownings at pools and lakes. Despite a plan to be extremely attentive while children are swimming, accidents happen. Put those LIFE jackets on!!
- Sunburn- There’s nothing worse than starting off the summer, a family vacation, or relaxing getaway with a bad sunburn. Some people are anxious to achieve that healthy, sun-kissed glow and so choose to forego the sunblock for a short time before applying it, others simply forget. It can take as little as 10-15 minutes to get uncomfortably burned…even on those partly cloudy days! Slather on the sunblock!!
- West Nile and Zika Virus- Unfortunately, those pesterous little things we call mosquitos are part of the food chain and are probably just as excited for summer as we are! They not only bless us with painful, red, itchy swollen bumps, but they can also carry dangerous viruses that could be life-threatening. Bad idea to skip the mosquito repellant!!
- Grilling safety- Time for barbequed chicken, juicy bratwurst, and smoked T-bone steaks! Just be sure your fired-up grill is far away from anything flammable–bushes, tablecloths, the house, etc. Make sure excess grease doesn’t build up, and should you suspect a gas leak, shut off your grill, get away from it and call your local fire department for what to do next. And certainly, don’t leave your grill unattended!!
- Infections- Many look forward to spending much of summertime in the water to keep cool! Be aware that although typically properly chlorinated, pools still carry the risk of infection, especially crowded community pools. Most common is E-Coli. Do your part to take precautions and action that will reduce the risk of E. coli contamination to yourself and others. Even fresh water lakes, rivers and springs can carry a very harmful and deadly organism that, if ingested, can cause a fatal infection of the brain. Although infection of this brain-eating amoeba is rare, it’s still important to keep your patients informed. Awareness is key to prevention!!
- Ocean Dangers- Sharks, strong currents and rip tides–all potentially dangerous aspects of swimming in the ocean. Swim where lifeguards are watching, don’t wear shiny jewelry, don’t swim if you are bleeding, and learning how to get out of a rip tide before you go, could save your life. Pay attention to posted warning signs and if appropriate, research the beach you plan to visit. Know before you go!!
- Spoiled food- Summertime potluck BBQs are fun! Adults visit and kids play–sometimes for hours–frequently returning to the picnic table for another handful of chips, another scoop of pasta or potato salad or seconds on those tasty burgers and dogs. Just be mindful how long meats or salads with mayo can sit out before you decide to have another serving. Avoid getting sick with food poisoning!!
- Yard hazards- Not having to put school shoes on and running around barefoot are benefits of summertime that kids look forward to. However, running around shoeless poses a serious risk of stepping on those stray nails from dad’s recent backyard project or other sharp objects that could be hiding in inconspicuous places. Dad or whomever is in charge of the upkeep of the yard, needs to be aware of hazardous yard situations as well. Always shut off your mower or other equipment before you check out possible issues and wear gloves, glasses or other protective gear when appropriate. Keep ‘em covered!!
- Camping safety- Roasting marshmallows over the campfire is a must do at some point during the summer! But in order to avoid campout mishaps, make sure to follow some general safety rules. Be sure to put your fire out completely before hopping into your sleeping bag and put all food and trash into your vehicle or another secure place. If you don’t, you are extending an open invitation to bears and other critters to join you on your campout! Pack it up and put it out!!
Most importantly, have a great summer!!