For many people, summer means spending lots of time outdoors. Officials from the Coastal Health District — which includes Liberty, Long, Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn and McIntosh counties — want Coastal Georgia residents to make the most of that time by preventing illness and injury that some summer-related activities can bring.
Heat and humidity are a normal part of a Georgia summer, but they also can pose a threat to those spending a lot of time outside. To minimize the risk of heat-related illness, follow these tips:
• Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink fluids. Drink more fluids regardless of your activity level.
• Don’t drink liquids that contain caffeine, alcohol or lots of sugar — these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks because they can cause stomach cramps.
• Stay indoors and, if possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air-conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library. Even a few hours spent in air-conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. Call your local health department to see if there are any heat-relief shelters in your area.
• Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath and moving to an air-conditioned place are much better ways to cool off.
• Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
• Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.
It’s also important to remember that infants, children and those 65 and older are at increased risk for heat-related illness. Limiting outdoor activity to morning and evening hours, wearing sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher and exercising indoors are other ways for people of all ages to avoid getting heat-related illness.
The best way to prevent mosquito-related diseases is to avoid mosquito bites. Mosquitoes breed in standing water, which is why it is important to follow these tips:
• Remove water-holding containers like buckets, barrels, flower pots and tarps.
• Change water frequently in pet dishes.
• Change birdbath water at least twice a week.
• Avoid using saucers under outdoor potted plants.
• Avoid dawn and dusk, which is when mosquitoes are most active
• Dress appropriately in long sleeves and pants.
• Doors and windows should be in good condition.