Nearly 70 percent of Americans, according to the American Red Cross, have been involved in some kind of summer emergency, ranging from insect bites to heat stroke and other life-threatening situations.
But what can you do if you find yourself facing a summer emergency?
Special Section: Dr. Jennifer Ashton
Dr. Jennifer Ashton's Twitter page
CBS News Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton shared the tips below on how to keep your family safe and healthy all summer-long:
HOW TO HYDRATE
• Drink plenty of fluid. Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink.
• If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour
• Avoid liquids with alcohol or sugar -- they will cause you to lose more body fluid.
• Stay away from very cold drinks -- they can cause stomach cramps.
Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours and wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Monitor young children and elderly people because they are more sensitive to the heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Body temperature can rise to 106°F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. A very important tip for summer health is to drink enough fluids -- hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
HOW TO RECOGNIZE HEAT STROKE
If they have a body temperature above 103 degrees Farenheit, red, hot dry skin, and there's no sweating -- which means that the body's sweating mechanism is failing, and the body is unable to cool down. If the person has a rapid strong pulse, headache, dizziness or nausea -- call 911 and get the victim to a shady area in the meantime. Try to cool the victim rapidly using whatever methods you can like spraying them with cool water from a hose.
• Body temp > 103°F
• Red/hot/dry skin
• No sweating
• Rapid pulse
HOW TO ALLEVIATE SUNBURN
There's no fast "cure" for sunburns -- it may take days for your skin to heal. To treat the pain, take an over-the-counter pain reliever and keep the area moisturized with aloe or other lotions. Keep the skin cool by using cold compresses or taking a cold bath. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a "healthy tan." Unprotected sun exposure causes premature aging of the skin
HOW TO IDENTIFY POISONOUS PLANTS
A good rule of thumb is "leaves of three, let it be." Poison oak and ivy usually are clustered in leaves of three. They contain an oil that when gets on your skin can cause an allergic reaction. You only need to be exposed to a very, very little of this poisonous oil -- less than one grain of table salt -- for it to develop a rash. If you do get it on your skin, immediately rinse skin with rubbing alcohol or a degreasing soap like dishwashing soap and lots of water. Rinse frequently so that wash solutions do not dry on the skin and further spread the urushiol. An antihistamine can be taken to help relieve itching.
BEST WAY TO REMOVE AN INSECT STINGER
NEVER squeeze the area or use tweezers because it may push more venom into the skin. Remove the stinger by either scraping your fingernail over the area or using a straight edge like a credit card. You want to wash the area with soap and water -- if there's swelling, apply ice. Try not to scratch because it may cause an infection.
Learn how to do Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, or CPR. This year marks the 50th anniversary of its invention. According to the American Heart Association, "about 80 percent of all out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in private residential settings," so knowing how to perform CPR can mean the difference between life and death. It also can resuscitate someone who has suffers a near-drowning -- and as we know, summertime means a lot of time at pools. You can find a class at your local American Heart Association chapter or the American Red Cross.
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