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Summertime safety a must this season

Summertime and the livin is easy;

Fish are jumpin' and the cotton is high ...

George Gershwin wrote these lyrics for the 1935 opera "Porgy and Bess." They seem fitting to many people, as summertime is seen as a time to kick back, relax and enjoy a slower pace.

While summertime is a season to live easy, there are some inherent dangers to summer that can halt plans of fun in the sun. From skin cancer to insect bites, summertime can be dangerous for those who don't play it safe.

With a greater number of people out and about enjoying the warm weather, the risk for accidents and injuries increases. The National Safe Kids Campaign says statistics indicate children will be rushed to emergency rooms around the country nearly three million times this summer. Higher rates of drowning, motor vehicle accidents and bicycle injuries occur this time of year.

There are a number of potential summertime hazards men, women and children can safeguard themselves against.

Sun-Related Injuries

While skin cancer and sunburn are the most obvious dangers from the sun, there are other hazards as well. Failure to protect the eyes from UV sun exposure can result in photokeratitis, irreversible sunburn of the cornea. While it may cause temporary vision loss, recurrent incidences of photokeratitis can lead to permanent vision loss as well.

Individuals who are exposed to sunlight between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. without UV protection may become sunburned, increasing their risk for skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, this year more than one million Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer and about 9,500 people will die from it.

Dehydration and heat stroke are other potential hazards. Drinking plenty of water and other hydrating fluids (not diuretics like alcohol) can keep the body cool and refreshed. Headaches, acting angrily, dizziness, and excessive sweating or cessation of sweating may be signs of a serious sun-related health condition.

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