If you’ve lived in Texas for a little while, you’ve probably realized that Texas often exhibits four seasons in one day. You also may know that the heat during Texas summers is often compared to the home of Hades himself. These assumptions are not wrong, so if you plan on attending any outdoor events this summer, make sure you can protect yourself from the elements.
When you plan to spend an extended period of time outside, you should always wear bug spray. Mosquito bites not only ruin your time outdoors, they can also carry dangerous diseases such as the Zika, West Nile and Chikungunya. While these diseases may not seem to be relevant to people in the DFW area, don’t be fooled. They can occur and it is better to be safe rather than sick. Remember these important bug spray tips:
- Bug spray only needs to be reapplied according to the label on the bug spray bottle.
- DEET contents in bug sprays should be equivalent or greater than 20 percent.
- Not all bug sprays are equal. Some sprays only protect against mosquitos and will not protect you against ticks.
- Do not allow children to apply their own bug spray and make sure that the bug spray does not end up on the hands of children, bug spray contains chemicals that are dangerous to you if they come in contact with your eyes or mouths.
- Do not apply bug spray under your clothing, instead apply bug spray to your exposed skin and your clothing.
- After finishing your activities, be sure to clean the bug spray off of your skin.
The often imitated never duplicated shining star in the sky–the sun–is perhaps one of the most dangerous elements you will encounter in Texas. To ensure that you avoid the burn remember:
- Apply sunscreen before you apply bug spray and 15 minutes before you go outside.
- While two in one sunscreen and bug spray combos may sound like an idea as great as ten gallon hats, they’re actually not recommended. Sunscreen needs to be applied more frequently than bug spray partially because the DEET in bug spray often weakens the effect of the sunscreen.
- SPF 15 is the minimum level of sunscreen that should be worn.
- Make sure the sunscreen protects against UVA and UVB rays.
- Be sure to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.
- Ask a buddy to help apply sunscreen to difficult to reach areas such as your back.
- Always remember to apply a thick layer of sunscreen on your ears. This is a commonly missed spot.
- Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming, sweating, dancing around a sprinkler or using a towel to dry off your skin. This should be followed regardless of whether or not your sunscreen is waterproof.
- Wear sunscreen even when it is cloudy.
- Hats are always a good idea.
If you decide to pack food, be aware of the CDC guidelines about carrying perishable foods and outdoor events. It’s safe to assume that the temperature in DFW will be above or around 90 degrees, so plan to consume any food you bring within an hour of bringing food outside. Additionally, insulated bags and coolers can help extend the life of perishable food.
While you’re enjoying your snacks, do not forget to consume water! Even in cooler weather, dehydration is possible and it can quickly turn into an emergency. Bring water with you, and be aware of where you can purchase water at the event. If you or a friend start to feel dehydrated (dizzy, lightheaded, confused, sluggish), don’t panic! Follow these safety tips:
- Begin sipping water or an electrolyte containing beverage slowly.
- Find an area outside of the sun, preferably inside an air-conditioned room.
- Place a wet towel around the victim’s body.
- Avoid applying ice or extremely cold items to the dehydrated individual. This will actually increase his or her body temperature.
Texans are a great breed, but often too many Texans in one area may cause concern. Make sure you are aware of your surroundings especially at larger events.
- Because large crowds can often be a security nightmare for police officers, it is important to always be aware and pay attention to any safety announcements.
- If an emergency does arise, be sure to head toward the nearest exit calmly.
- Give safety officers room to reach a victim if an individual is in need of help.
- If you bring children, be sure to always be aware of their whereabouts and remind them to contact a safety officer or event staff if they need help or they are lost.
We hope you have a great time at your next outdoor event. Remember to be safe and have fun!