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The Top 7 Summer Health Hazards

Beach days and BBQ dinners are great, but here's what you need to know to stay safe in summer, too.
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2. Boating Accidents continued...

When you are going to be out on a boat or at the beach with a child, basic lifesaving skills are a must, not a luxury. "The courses are easy, usually just one day or half a day," Stanton says. "There's no mouth-to-mouth [resuscitation] anymore if you are not trained -- just chest compressions."

You can find first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and other emergency lifesaving courses near you with the American Heart Association's ECC (Emergency Cardiovascular Care) Class Connector tool online at americanheart.org.

3. Dehydration Disasters

You've romped outdoors with the kids all day, and your water bottle ran dry long ago. Suddenly you feel dizzy and lightheaded, and your mouth tastes like cotton. You're dehydrated -- meaning you haven't taken in enough fluids to replace those you've been sweating out.

People can get dehydrated any time of year, but it's much more common in the summer months, when they are active outdoors in the warm sun. Heatstroke is the most severe form of dehydration. That's when your internal temperature rises to dangerously high levels. Your skin gets hot, but you stop sweating. Someone with heatstroke may pass out, have hallucinations, or suffer seizures.

Preventing dehydration and heatstroke couldn't be easier: Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, take regular breaks in the shade, and try to schedule your most vigorous outdoor activities for times when the heat isn't so strong, such as early morning or late afternoon.

For persons suffering more serious dehydration or heatstroke, get them indoors, have them lie down, and cool them off with ice packs and cool cloths. Someone who is seriously affected by the heat may need intravenous fluids in the ER.

4. Sunburn Snafus

With all the skin cancer warnings, you'd think Americans would be getting fewer sunburns, not more. But you'd be wrong. The percentage of adults nationwide who got at least one sunburn during the preceding year rose from 31.8% in 1999 to 33.7% in 2004, according to the CDC.

Your risk for melanoma doubles if you've had just five sunburns in your life. "A sunburn is a first-degree burn, right up there with thermal burns," says Stanton. "And we even see some second-degree thermal burns, often when people are out drinking or falling asleep in the sun and don't realize how long they've been out there."

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