Summertime is a great opportunity to get active in the sun. Tennis, cricket and swimming are some of the most enjoyable ways to spend the season! But, it’s important to protect yourself and your kids by taking a few simple precautions to prevent complaints like sunstroke, heat rash, dehydration and sports injuries.
Protect yourself in the heat
As we all know, the sun’s UVA and UVB rays can be damaging to the skin and the extreme heat can cause other health issues, too. So, if you’re out all day in the sunshine, it’s important to keep yourself protected.
- Wear sunscreen. Apply it liberally before you go out, and remember to top it up regularly through the day, especially if you’ve been in a swimming pool or if you’ve been sweating excessively.
- Cover up. Wear protective clothing, including a sunhat and sunglasses if practical. As well as affecting the skin, the sun’s rays can be harmful to the eyes.
- Stay hydrated. Many of us forget to drink enough water, but this is especially important if you’re losing fluids through sweat in the summer heat. Have a drink before you start playing, during any breaks, and when the game is over – even if you don’t feel thirsty.
- Get some shade. Make sure you’re not exposed to the baking heat all day by playing in a shaded area if possible. Avoid the sun between 11am and 3pm.
- Take frequent breaks. In hot weather, you may need more breaks than usual. Keep sipping water every time you stop.
Prevent injury and accidents
Sometimes an accident is a true accident, and there’s nothing you could have done to prevent it. But for most sports-related injuries, the precautions you take can limit the damage.
- Wear protective gear. Playing sports in the summer often means we don’t wear much on our arms and legs, but if you’re cycling or skating, you’ll need a helmet and other protective gear to prevent injury in case of a fall.
- Warm up properly. Yes, even when the sun’s shining, it’s important to warm up! Take the time to do some stretches and gentle cardio before launching into a game. This will help prevent avoidable sports injuries.
- Supervise children near water. There’s nothing more refreshing than splashing in the pool on a hot summer’s day. But even if your child can swim, you must supervise them when they are playing, and warn them not to dive into shallow water.
Treating illness and injury
It’s important to know the signs of injury or illness, and take action in an emergency.
- If someone is showing signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, they need to cool down quickly. Move them to a cooler place and give them plenty of water. If their condition has not improved within 30 minutes, call 999 for an ambulance.
- Have a first aid kit with you, so that you can easily treat scrapes and grazes caused by falls.
- Listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel right, take it easy for a few days and try a sports massage to soothe your muscles and joints.