6 Summer Health Hazards: How to Protect Yourself

Even if you are inside, lightning can still strike. Stay away from water, doors and windows. You should also avoid the phone and listening to music with a headset.

"Folks also shouldn't be swimming when there's lightning or during storms," said Hoxhaj. "You can get injured if lightning strikes a pool, for example."

And if you happen upon a victim of a lightning strike, call 9-1-1 and perform CPR if the person is unresponsive or not breathing. Contrary to popular belief, victims are not electrically charged and are safe to touch.

Food Poisoning

What Are the Dangers? Picnics and barbecues are very popular during the summer, but they can also harbor tiny dangers in the form of bacteria or parasites that can cause food poisoning.

Heat, humidity and outdoor conditions that are often unsanitary cause intestinal bugs to flourish, so doctors say they see more cases of food poisoning during the summer than during other times of the year.

Who's Going to Get Hurt?

Anyone who consumes food that's been sitting out in the heat for a long time is at risk for food poisoning.

"Even if the food is covered and it's in the shade, it's still hot outside," said Irvin.

And children's innate curiosity can put them at risk for a different kind of food poisoning.

"Kids get into things like berries and things in the yard like flowers and may eat them, and they can be poisonous," said Moseley.

What Should You Do?

There are very simple things you can do to keep your food safe from contamination during the summer months.

"You can abide by the old rule, 'If in doubt, throw it out,'" said Irvin. "I also follow the two-hour rule. If the food's been out for two hours, get rid of it. Don't take chances."

She has a couple of other "common sense" rules as well.

"Use 'one-time' spoons. Don't let people lick the spoon and put it back," she said.

"Also, when people are done eating and it's been out for about 30 minutes, put it in a cooler," she added.

And for those who enjoy the taste of grilled burgers and chicken, make sure the meats are cooked thoroughly. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, ground beef and pork should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit, and chicken should be cooked to at least 165 degrees.

Pool Injuries

What Are the Dangers? Swimming pools are symbols of summertime fun and relaxation, but they can also be hazardous.

CDC statistics show that drowning is the leading cause of injury death among children ages 1 to 4, and three children die from drowning every day.

"Drowning is quick, it's silent and it's final. You don't get a second chance," said Smith.

While drowning is by far the most serious risk posed by pools, they pose other dangers as well.

"Most injuries are minor – scrapes, cuts, bruising, orthopedic injuries," said Hoxhaj.

Who's Going to Get Hurt?

Although children are most susceptible to pool injuries, all swimmers are at risk.

In addition to minor cuts, scrapes and bruises, falls can cause very serious and potentially life-threatening problems.

"There are very traumatic injuries, like injuries to the neck and head," said Moseley. "Diving into water that's too shallow can cause very serious head and neck injuries as well," he added.

People who mix alcohol with swimming and other water activities are also at higher risk for injuries.

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