Summer officially began last week, and with the July 4th holiday weekend approaching, there are many concerns to consider regarding a person’s wellbeing. From sun to sex, we have six summer safety tips for you:

    1. Sunshine on my shoulders – although that can make you happy, as the late John Denver sang, it can also give you cancer. UV rays from the sun damages skin and can cause cancer. In fact, the majority of melanomas are caused by the sun, and experts say that one person dies from melanoma every 54 minutes. Therefore, when out in the stimulating sunshine this summer, use sunscreen (at least 30 SPF) and wear sunglasses and a hat. An umbrella can also be a good protection, especially when near water as the sun rays reflect off lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water.
    2. Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water, juices, and sports drinks to keep your body from dehydration. Alcohol isn’t a good substitute for water; in fact, alcohol causes fluid loss through increased urination. Between that and losing fluids through increased perspiration, a person can quickly become dehydrated, which can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Therefore, if you’re at a party or barbecue, or anywhere else with alcohol, make at least every other drink a nonalcoholic one.
    3. Speaking of drinks: Watch yours. Slipping drugs into drinks (alcohol, tea, soda, etc.) in order to assault someone is, sadly, a fact of society these days. Drug-facilitated sexual assault happens often and not just at clubs in big cities – it also happens in our own community. Therefore, make sure your drink is in your sight at all times and don’t let a stranger (or even an acquaintance) give you a drink that you haven’t seen poured and haven’t had your own eyes upon.
    4. Pregnant this summer? Keep cool! If you’re pregnant, summer can be especially harsh on your body. The heat, the swelling – it’s all uncomfortable. Therefore, helpful hints include wearing loose, light-colored clothing, drinking cool (non-alcoholic) beverages, and putting your feet up and resting.
    5. Don’t want to be pregnant or get an STD? Then, don’t have sex. Abstinence is the only fool-proof way to prevent pregnancy and STDs. Natrona County ranks #1 in Wyoming for Chlamydia, and most times, women don’t even know they have that sexually transmitted disease. Know for sure – don’t have sex. Or, if you do so engage, ask your partner when he or she was last tested for STDs; better yet, only have sex as part of a monogamous relationship (and make sure you’re both tested).
  1. Don’t drive while impaired. Which means don’t drink (or use drugs) and drive and don’t text and drive. Wyoming experienced more than 700 alcohol-related crashes last year, resulting in more than 30 deaths. Last July there were more than 1,200 vehicle crashes in the state, the 4th highest during 2016. Drinking and driving and texting while driving are illegal; both practices kill, if not you then perhaps someone in another car, or your passenger(s). Save lives – including your own – don’t drink then drive and don’t text while driving.

Following these guidelines will help insure your summer is a more safe and enjoyable one!