Summer is an exciting time for children, school is out and its time to have fun but summer also brings life threatening and dangerous threats. Swimming and playing outside all day are popular activities during the summer so it is important that parents teach their children about water safety and ensure they keep propertly hydrated.
Practice constant, adult supervision around any body of water, including pools and spas.
Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death in New Mexico for ages 1 to 44 years old. Each year over 8,000 people drown in this country. Nearly 4,000 of those drownings occur during the summer months of June, July, and August.
Stay away from all ditches, arroyos and channels.
- No swimming
- No playing nearby
- Swim only at swimming pools
- Don't attempt a swimming rescue in the arroyo or river. You could become the next victim.
- Call 911 immediately
- If caught in the water, point feet downstream and wait for help.
Flood Safety Awareness
Flash floods are the #1 weather related killer with approximately 140 deaths recorded in the U.S. each year. Flooding causes more damage in the United States than any other severe weather related event, an average of $5 billion a year. Flooding can occur in any of the 50 states or U.S. territories at anytime of the year.
Flash flooding is a result of heavy localized rainfall from slow moving intense thunderstorms. Flash floods often result from small creeks and streams overflowing during heavy rainfall. These floods often become raging torrents of water which rip through city streets, arroyos, and valleys sweeping everything with them. Flash flooding usually occurs within 6 hours of a heavy rain event.
In hilly terrain, flash floods can strike with little or no advance warning. Within minutes, distant rain may be channeled into arroyos and ravines, turning a quiet stream into a rampaging torrent.
Flood Safety Tips
- Don't drive through flooded areas!
- Even if it looks shallow enough to cross. The large majority of deaths due to flash flooding occur with people driving through flooded areas. Water only a foot deep can displace a 1500 lb. vehicle. Two feet of water can easily carry most automobiles. Roads concealed by water may not be intact.
- Do not cross flowing stream on foot where water is above your ankles.
- Do not allow children to play around arroyos, drainage ditches, storm drains, or other flooded areas!
Be prepared! Stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio for the latest statements, watches and warnings concerning heavy rain and flash flooding in your area, report it to the National Weather Service.
Heat Related Illnesses
Heat exhaustion is a result of excessive heat and dehydration. The signs of heat exhaustion include paleness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, fainting, and a moderately increased temperature (101-102 degrees F) which, in this case, is not truly a fever, but caused by the heat.
TREATMENT: Rest and water may help in mild heat exhaustion, and ice packs and a cool environment (with a fan blowing at the child) may also help. More severely exhausted patients may need IV fluids, especially if vomiting keeps them from drinking enough.
Heat stroke is the most severe form of heat illness. It can occur even in people who are not exercising, if the weather is hot enough. These people have warm, flushed skin, and do not sweat. Athletes who have heat stroke after vigorous exercise in hot weather, though, may still be sweating considerably. Whether exercise-related or not, though, a person with heat stroke usually has a very high temperature (106 degrees F or higher), and may be delirious, unconscious, or having seizures.
TREATMENT: These patients need to have their temperature reduced quickly, often with ice packs, and must also be given IV fluids for re-hydration; Call 911 immediately. The patient may have to stay in the hospital for observation since many different body organs can fail in heat stroke.
Preventing Heat-Related Illnesses
You can prevent heat-related illnesses. The important thing is to stay well-hydrated, to make sure that your body can get rid of extra heat, and to be sensible about exertion in hot, humid weather.
Your sweat is your body's main system for getting rid of extra heat. When you sweat, and the water evaporates from your skin, the heat that evaporates the sweat comes mainly from your skin. As long as blood is flowing properly to your skin, extra heat from the core of your body is "pumped" to the skin and removed by sweat evaporation. If you do not sweat enough, you cannot get rid of extra heat well, and you also can't get rid of heat as well if blood is not flowing to the skin.
Dehydration will make it harder for you to cool of in two ways: if you are dehydrated you won't sweat as much, and your body will try to keep blood away from the skin to keep your blood pressure at the right level in the core of your body. But, since you lose water when you sweat, you must make up that water to keep from becoming dehydrated. If the air is humid, it's harder for your sweat to evaporate -- this means that your body cannot get rid of extra heat as well when it's muggy as it can when it's relatively dry.
The best fluid to drink when you are sweating is water. Although there is a little salt in your sweat, you don't really lose that much salt with your sweat, except in special circumstances. "Sport drinks" such as Gatorade® will also work, but water is usually easier to obtain.
It's also important to be sensible about how much you exert yourself in hot weather. The hotter and more humid it is, the harder it will be for you to get rid of excess heat. The clothing you wear makes a difference, too: the less clothing you have on, and the lighter that clothing is, the easier you can cool off.
Drink Plenty of Water!!!