4 Simple Ways to Enjoy Summer Outdoor Fun

I like to be outside.

All … the … time.

I relish the heat and sun — as long as I keep on the sun block.

But there’s more than a sunburn to worry about when you’re having fun in the sun. Here are four ways to enjoy the hot summer without getting burned:

  1. Watch what you eat

I mean, literally — watch it. Older adults are particularly vulnerable to food poisoning, so monitor how long picnic salads and meats have been sitting out. Experts say two hours from preparation to service is an ideal time range for foods to be served, one hour if weather temperatures exceed 90 degrees. If more time is needed, place mayonnaise-based salads in a bowl of ice and drain excess water often to maintain cold temperatures. Cold foods must remain around 40 degrees, and hot foods need to stay around 140 degrees to reduce the risk of illness.

  1. Fire safety

You know that frumpy flannel shirt you love to wear on weekend camping trips? It could be a fire hazard. Fabrics like cotton, cotton blends, rayon, and acrylic burn easily and quickly. Whenever you and your loved ones are cooking or enjoying an open fire, be sure to wear snug-fitting clothing, keep a water source close in case there’s an emergency, and enforce a 3-foot safety perimeter around a campfire.

  1. Open water safety

There’s nothing like a refreshing dip in the pool or ocean to beat the summer heat. But we can’t forget basic water safety rules. “Open water can be a great stress reliever and an opportunity to make good memories,” said Scott Hansen, executive director of Lake Ridge Senior Living. “But your loved one should be aware of the risks and take precautions to have the best and safest experience.” Don’t swim alone, obey posted swimming rules that offer alerts on water conditions, and don’t venture out too far.

  1. Don’t forget the water and sunscreen

Experts say that for every pound of sweat you lose, you need to replenish with at least a pint of water. John Batson M.D., who specializes in sports medicine and volunteers for the American Heart Association, says, “Drinking water before you need it is important. When you’re hydrated, your heart doesn’t have to work as hard.” Make a bottle of water your constant companion.

Related link: Are medications throwing shade on outdoor fun?

When it comes to sun exposure, medications like benzoyl peroxide, alpha hydroxy acids, topical retinoids, and some high-blood pressure medications create a higher sensitivity to sunlight. “To achieve the Sun Protection Factor reflected on a bottle of sunscreen, you should use approximately 2 milligrams of sunscreen per square centimeter of skin,” explained Elizabeth K. Hale, M.D. She says we should apply the equivalent of a shot glass (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to the exposed areas of the face and body, and if you’re using a spray, apply until an even sheen appears on the skin.

If you are cooking up some summer fun, these four safety tips will help ensure your recipe for outdoor fun will be safe.

This article was originally published by the Daily Herald. It has been republished with permission.