McLaren Flint ER Physician Offers Summertime Safety Tips

Sunshine, high temperatures, outdoor activities, are abundant this time of year.

Author: Sherry Farney

And whether you are working or playing outside, there are things to keep in mind in order to avoid a minor illness or injury, or even something serious enough to require a trip to the Emergency Room.

 “Most summertime-related injuries and illnesses are preventable,” states Ray Rudoni, MD, Medical Director McLaren Flint Emergency Department. “If we just try and use some common sense and look out for each other we can all have a safer summer. For example, make sure kids are wearing their helmets when they ride their bikes, wear sunscreen and continue to reapply it, and if you are going to exercise in the heat do so early or late in the day.”



 Don’t Get Heat Beat!

Heat-related illness can be caused by overexposure to the sun or any situation that involves extreme heat. Young children and the elderly are most at risk, but anyone can be affected.

The symptoms of early heat exhaustion symptoms include cool, moist, pale or flushed skin; headache; dizziness; weakness; feeling exhausted; heavy sweating; nausea; and giddiness. The late stage of heat illness is called heat stroke and symptoms include flushed, hot, dry skin; fainting; a rapid, weak pulse; rapid, shallow breathing; vomiting; and increased body temperature of more than 104 degrees. People with these symptoms should immediately rest in a cool, shaded place and (if conscious) drink plenty of non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated fluids. Seek immediate medical attention by calling 911 or your local emergency number for symptoms that include cool, moist, pale skin, rapid pulse, elevated or lowered blood pressure, nausea, loss of consciousness, vomiting or a high body temperature.

Stay Sun Safe!  

Even if it is cool and cloudy, the sun can do damage to your skin and you still need protection. It is the sun’s Ultraviolet rays and not the ground temperature that is doing the harm. It is important to teach your children how to protect their skin. Especially protect the sensitive skin of babies younger than six months. The American Cancer Society recommends using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with sun protective factor (SPF) of at least 30 or higher. Use higher SPF when near the water or higher elevations. Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours, especially after swimming and sweating. Wear sunglasses with UV ray protection to protect your eyes too.

Don’t Dehydrate!

Dehydration is when your body does not have the amount of water or fluids that it is supposed to have in order to function. Infants, children and the elderly are at highest risk of becoming dehydrated. The signs and symptoms of dehydration include dry or sticky mouth; rapid heart rate, low blood pressure, inability to produce tears, low or no urine output for eight hours; sunken eyes and dizziness. Untreated severe dehydration can cause brain damage or even be fatal. You can prevent dehydration by drinking plenty of fluids every day and be sure to avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages as they can worsen dehydration and are not suitable for rehydration. Stay out of excessive heat if possible as well.

“We all want to get outside and enjoy all that Michigan has to offer, especially after all we’ve been through this past year,” said Dr. Rudoni. “Just be sure to stay sun and excessive heat safe, don’t overdo it and listen to your body.”

The emergency rooms at McLaren Flint and McLaren Fenton offer online self-scheduling and check-ins for non-life threatening or debilitating conditions. Select a time that fits your schedule and wait at home until your appointment. Just visit