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Summer Safety

Web banner that says "Summer Safety" with beach imagery

Summer is the season for relaxing, having fun and spending time with your family and friends, but it's also a time to remember simple precautions to keep yourself and your family safe.

  • Protect your skin and eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays
  • Follow food safety precautions when grilling or preparing foods outside
  • Use proper protective gear for outdoor activities like biking, watersports and more
  • Drink responsibly and stay hydrated

Extreme Heat

High summer temperatures can create serious risk of heat illness—there are nearly 700 heat-related deaths in the U.S. each year. 

Extreme heat happens in the summer when temperatures are much hotter and/or humid than average, which means it varies by location. Exposure to extreme heat, particularly coupled with high levels of physical exertion and insufficient hydration, can cause serious health issues, and even death. Service members should learn to identify the risks of extreme heat and the symptoms of heat-related illness. Heat acclimatization is necessary to prevent or reduce the severity of heat illness.

Heat-Related Illnesses

Common heat-related illnesses include cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.

  • Heat cramps – painful muscle spasms that occur due to dehydration and loss of nutrients from excessive sweating.
  • Heat exhaustion – when your body loses the ability to cool its core temperature, with symptoms like cool moist skin and goosebumps, heavy sweating, fatigue, rapid pulse, faintness and more.
  • Heat stroke – a severe form of heat exhaustion that occurs when the body temperature exceeds 104°. Symptoms include confusion, red skin, headache, and dizziness.

Visit the CDC website to learn more about the symptoms and how to prevent heat-related illnesses.

Sun Safety

While we focus on sun safety during the summer, it’s actually something we should think about all year long. It’s important to protect your skin from sun damage throughout the year, no matter the weather.

Sun damage to the body is caused by invisible ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Sun exposure can cause many things, such as:

  • Sunburn
  • Skin aging (such as skin spots, wrinkles, or “leathery skin”)
  • Eye damage
  • Skin cancer (the most common of all cancers)

People of all skin colors are at risk for this damage.

Reduce Your Risk for Sun Damage

  • Limit your time in the sun, especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun’s rays are most intense.
  • Wear protective clothing to cover skin exposed to the sun such as long-sleeve shirts, pants, sunglasses, and broad-brim hats
  • Use broad spectrum sunscreens with a SPF value of 15 or higher regularly and as directed.

Please consult your health care provider before applying sunscreen to infants younger than 6 months.

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  • Identification #: N/A
  • Date: 4/17/2017
  • Type: Memorandums
  • Topics: Summer Safety

Update: Heat Illness Active Component U.S. Armed Forces, 2016

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Heat illness refers to a spectrum of disorders that occur when the body is unable to dissipate heat absorbed from the external environment and the heat generated by internal metabolic processes. As heat illness progresses, failure of one or more body systems can occur. This infographic provides an update on heat illness among active component U.S. Armed Forces during 2016. There were 401 incident cases of heat stroke and 2,135 incident cases of other heat illness among active component service members. The annual incidence rate of cases of heat stroke in 2016 was slightly lower than the rate in 2015. There were fewer heat-stroke-related ambulatory visits and more reportable events in 2016 than in 2015. ‘Other heat illness’ was slightly higher in 2016 than in 2015. High risk of heat stroke in 2016 included males, service members aged 19 years or younger, Asian/Pacific Islanders, Recruit Trainees, Combat-specific occupations, Marine Corps and Army members. To learn more about the significant threat of heat illnesses to both the health of U.S. military members and the effectiveness of military operations, visit www.Health.mil/MSMR

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