The Doctor Is In: Summertime Safety

Content sponsored and provided by Henry Ford Health System

If you want to get the most out of summer, you should start by keeping yourself and your family safe. While getting outside and enjoying the warm weather has lots of benefits, it also comes with risks. Those risks include skin damage from the sun's ultraviolet rays, bites from ticks and other insects, dehydration and injuries from fireworks, to name a few.  

Dr. Nessreen Rizvi, internal medicine physician at Henry Ford Health System, offers a few tips to make your summer fun and safe.  

Benefits of Getting Outside 

"Forest Bathing" is the act of taking a leisurely stroll in the woods and connecting with the nature through the five senses. According to studies, benefits can include: 

Improved sleep 
Stronger immune system 
Reduced blood pressure 
Reduce stress and anxiety 
Boosted creativity 
Sun exposure can stimulate production of vitamin D. 
Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium and promotes bone growth. 

Sunscreen Use 

1 in 5 people will develop skin cancer during their life time, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.  
To reduce your chance of developing skin cancer, wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher when outside. Broad spectrum provides protection from both the sun's UVA and UVB rays. 
Use enough to fill a shot glass (1 oz.) to cover the exposed areas of your body.  
Apply 30 minutes before sun exposure, and reapply every two hours. Also reapply after swimming, sweating, or drying off with a towel.  
Check the expiration date.  

Sunscreen without an expiration date has a shelf life of no more than three years. 

Prevent Bug and Tick Bites 

Ticks can carry Lyme Disease, and mosquitos can carry the West Nile virus. Both can be transmitted to humans through bites.  

To protect yourself: 
Use an insect repellant containing DEET. 
Wear long sleeves and pants outside, when possible.  
Do a skin exam after being outside to look for ticks and other bug bites. 
If you do find a tick, use tweezers to get very close to the skin where it is attached, and gently remove it. 
If flu-like symptoms develop after an insect bite, consult with your medical provider. 


The amount of water needed varies from person to person, and is dependent upon the temperature, clothing worn and physical activity level.  
By the time you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. 
Pay attention to the color of your urine.  
If it's clear, you are hydrated. If it's darker, you need to drink more water.  
In general, aim to drink at least half your body weight, in ounces, of water per day.  
Example: If you weigh 170 pounds, aim to drink at least 85 ounces of water. 
If you are spending time in the sun or hot temperatures, aim for more.  

Preventing Burns from Fireworks 

Fireworks are best left to the professionals. If you do use fireworks to celebrate the Fourth of July, use extreme caution. 
Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks. 
Make sure you, your kids, and others watch fireworks displays from a safe distance. 
Call 911 immediately if someone is injured from fireworks. 
Last year, 53 percent of fireworks-related injuries treated in Emergency Departments were burns. 
Burns were the most common injury to hands, fingers and arms.