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The Murfreesboro Post works to give readers the BEST so extra attention was given to the preparation of this list of the 10 Best Summer Safety Tips Ever Published. See if you agree that this list makes the grade.

1. Avoid over-heating. Considering that very soon the temperature and relative humidity will be in the 90s, it is important to take a moment and realize that becoming overheated is very common. This is especially true for the elderly, the young and anyone not accustomed to the heat. Take breaks, look for shade and rest before you need to. If you stop sweating, this is warning that heat illness is imminent and calls for immediate action. Seek a cooler place, drink cool fluids, apply ice or moisture to your skin and seek emergency care if necessary.

2. Stay hydrated. This advice sounds simple, but dehydration leads to medical emergencies frequently during warm weather. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink. What’s the best drink?  Water.

3. Wear sunscreen. Skin cancer is increasing. Wear sunscreen when spending a lot of time outdoors, whether it is hot or not. Wearing a hat, lightweight sleeves and pants is even better.

4. Recognize fatigue and pace activities. Fatigue is closely associated with accidents. Exhaustion occurs easily during warmer weather. Think ahead and pace your activities to avoid mental and physical fatigue.

5. Be vigilant while engaging in water sports.  Accidents seriously injure and take the lives of too many people while swimming, boating, diving, water skiing or simply playing in or near the water. Take water safety seriously. Never operate watercraft when intoxicated or allow anyone else to operate one either.

6. Be prepared for stings and bites. Bugs, snakes, spiders and bees enjoy summer, too.  A bite or sting from an irritated creature can be simply annoying or possibly deadly. Some people are sensitive to venom and even a tiny sting or bite can cause serious health risks. Be wary of potential hazards and be prepared to offer appropriate first aid if necessary.

7. Prepare a quality first aid kit.   A well thought out first aid kit can be worth many times its price.  There are ready-made kits available, but you can make your own and be sure you have the most essential items on hand.  This is a great project for scouts, families, neighbors or other similar groups.  By buying the essentials in bulk and preparing several kits at the same time, you can obtain high quality supplies for a bargain.  A previous column in the Murfreesboro Post listed essential items. 

8. Prepare a written list of current medications and medical history. You may know what medications you are taking, but what if you are injured and cannot speak for yourself. It is very easy to type the essential information in small (but readable) print on a computer and fold and put the list in a wallet or purse.  Leave a copy with your emergency contact.

9. Plan ahead to avoid travel emergencies. If driving long distances, anticipate the need to stop and refresh to stay alert.  Consider the variances in weather that might affect your plans.  Carry extra doses of any prescription medications in case of a prolonged stay or lost luggage.  Take a list of phone numbers for your doctor’s office and relatives or friends that you may need to contact. (Pack that first-aid kit you just made!)

10. Follow safety precautions when cooking outdoors (and indoors). Cases of food-borne illness increase during summer months.  Maintain proper temperatures and wash foods thoroughly prior to cooking.  Cook meats thoroughly.  Fresh vegetables can often be contaminated, so washing raw vegetables is critical.

As usual, the Murfreesboro Post likes to include a bonus.

11. Don’t forget your pet’s safety and wellbeing! Most of the tips above apply to pet’s health as well.  It is very easy to overlook dangers to pets when the temperatures soar.  If pets are left outside, make sure shade and fresh water are within reach.  Check your animals for ticks and other insects after outdoor romps.

With proper planning this summer will be accident-free and full of fun!

Dr. Mark Kestner is a chiropractor in Murfreesboro. His office is at 1435 NW Broad St. Contact him at mkestner@DrKestner.com

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