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Tips for a fun, safe summer outside

TINKER AIR FORCE, Okla. -- By following these safety tips we hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable summer. Use your good common sense, be cool, have fun.

Sun Safety
We all need some sun exposure; it's our primary source of vitamin D, which helps us absorb calcium for stronger, healthier bones. But it doesn't take much time in the sun for most people to get the vitamin D they need, and repeated unprotected exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays can cause skin damage, eye damage, immune system suppression and skin cancer. Even people in their 20s can develop skin cancer.

Did you know that those most at risk for heat illness are young children and the elderly? When the temperature starts rising into the high 90s, here are some things you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones from dehydration, sunburn and heatstroke:

· Know and be alert for symptoms of heat illness: fainting, dizziness, headache, nausea, rapid pulse, flushed skin and body temperature of 104 degrees.
· Anyone suffering from a heat illness should rest in a cool, shaded area and sip chilled water or fruit juice.
· To avoid becoming dehydrated when sitting or working in the sun, replenish with fluids often and avoid beverages with alcohol or caffeine. Keep your skin moist and cool.
· Wear loose-fitting clothing, a hat and waterproof sunscreen.
· If you take prescription medication, check with your doctor before being in the sun for long periods of time.

Lightning
There are a number of survivors who will tell you that lightning does, in fact, strike twice. (Lightning strikes are fatal less than a third of the time.) These same survivors will advise that you do everything in your power to avoid being struck by heaven's fiery bolts in the first place. You don't have to become paranoid about lightning, just cautious of a formidable adversary.
· At the first sign of a thunderstorm, don't go near the water, or get out if you're swimming.
· Don't lie down on wet ground.
· Don't go near tall or metal objects such as flagpoles, fences and trees. If you're on the golf course, seek cover at once.
· If you're inside, stay away from electrical appliances and don't use the telephone during an electrical storm as they are good conductors of electricity.
· Don't watch storms from an open window or door in your home, and remember that lightning has been known to hit chimneys as well as tall trees near the house.

Camping/Travel
Away From Home

In most cases, using common sense will help you avoid accidents and illness while on vacation.

Each year in this country approximately 10,000 people die from food poisoning. This likelihood for occurrence increases when food is improperly stored or prepared while camping or on picnics.

Pack a first aid kit to "fit" your vacation destination. Include remedies for sunburn, insect bites, cuts and scrapes. Your camping survival kit should include a compass, map, flashlight, knife, waterproof fire starter, as well as sun and insect protection.

Refill any prescription medications and carry them with you in the original marked container. Carry important medical information with you, as well (names and phone numbers of your physicians, pharmacist, insurance ID cards, etc.).

Be especially cautious on camping adventures: when exploring strange places in the "wild," when building fires, and when using sharp implements to chop wood, for example. And, they really mean it when they say "Don't feed the bears..."

Pack the appropriate clothing for your destination, but always carry a light jacket or sweater for warm weather destinations (and lighter weight clothing for cold weather locations) because even professional weathercasters don't always get it right. Even in tropical paradises, temperatures can change dramatically and unseasonably without warning.

When planning for overseas travel, make sure you have all the necessary immunizations and know of any water quality hazards. Check with your physician about medication refills if you plan to be gone for an extended period of time, and ask how to replace medication if it should become lost during your trip.