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Summer Safety Tips: Signs of Drowning and Avoiding Heatstroke

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The summer season exposes the human body to the potentially dangerous elements of fire and water. Staff writer Faith James has tips on how to stay safe. 

Summertime is quickly approaching. This means spending time with friends, going to the beach, and having fun. It also means being put in potentially dangerous situations.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of ten people die per day due to drowning. When someone is drowning in real life, it looks nothing like in the movies. A drowning person will not be screaming and flailing around. Instead they will be very quiet. The victim might not even look like they are in distress.
When a person is drowning, their head will be low in the water. Because of this, their mouth will sink below the surface of the water and reappear. They won’t have time to breathe, let alone shout for help.
Their arms will be extended laterally in an attempt to push down the water. A drowning child may extend their hands out in front of them. The victim will be upright in the water; however, they will not be kicking.
A drowning person’s hair may be in front of their face and their eyes are glassy, unable to focus, or closed. They may look like they are trying to climb an invisible ladder.
If you think someone might be drowning, ask if they need help. If they do not answer you, you have approximately 20-60 seconds before they go under. Try to get a lifeguard or someone who is professionally trained to save a drowning person to do the rescue. Otherwise, the victim, even if they are your best friend or your parent, will push you underwater so they can breathe. The victim isn’t intentionally trying to hurt you. They are desperate for air and will do whatever it takes to be able to breathe again.
Try to avoid going into the water at all costs. If there is no lifeguard at the pool or pier and you can reach the person from dry land, lie down with your legs spread out and try to grab their hand. Do not put yourself in a position where you might fall into the water. And of course, be sure to call 911.
Another serious medical condition that can happen during the summertime is heatstroke, also known as sunstroke. The primary symptom of heatstroke is having a temperature above 104 degrees. Other symptoms of heatstroke include headaches; dizziness; lightheadedness; lack of sweating (even though it’s hot outside); red, hot, dry skin; cramps; nausea; vomiting; a rapid heartbeat; shallow breathing; confusion or disorientation; seizures; and unconsciousness.
If someone has heatstroke, it’s important to get them to the hospital as soon as possible since it can be fatal. In the meantime, try to cool the person down. You can do this by fanning them while wetting their skin and clothes with water; applying ice packs to their armpits, groin, neck, and back; and giving them a cool shower or bath.
You can avoid heatstroke by staying inside when it’s extremely hot out. If you do go outside, you can take a few precautions, including wearing light clothing, wearing sunscreen, drinking lots of water, and limiting how much you exert yourself in the heat. Also, if possible, plan your outdoor activities during the coolest times of the day: in the early morning or after sunset. 
Stay safe out there!