Summer is the season of fun, excitement, and adventure. Come the summer months of December, January, and February, crowds of Australians will be making the best of the warm weather—be it at the pool, outside where the greenery is, or at the beach where the surf compels.
But families are to be advised that the summer comes with unique seasonal dangers. They can be from the weather, the environment, or from the seasonal behavior of other animals. Regardless, it’s best to start prepping for the onslaught in practical ways: checking the piping and ventilation in your house and workplace, fire-proofing your living and working areas, stocking up portable emergency kits, and/or using the summer momentum to enrol in a first aid training course in Loganholme or in your locality.
Here’s a list of 5 things you should watch out for in the advent of Australian summer, and some tips on countering these seasonal threats.
- Heat. No danger is more pronounced in the summer than that of heat. In Brisbane alone, average temperatures can reach from between 21 and 29.8°C in the summer months. Heat from the sun can cause itchy and painful burns, impart the risk of skin cancer, and instigate dehydration—and in the worst cases, heat stress and heat stroke. Luckily, preempting the summer heat can be easy as long as it’s a matter of habit. Ensure that you and your loved ones stay inside during the peak hours of sunlight and that you apply sunscreen, drink water, and wear appropriate clothing with a high ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) rating.
- Drowning. Those who flock to the water to cool off during the summer need to be careful while they swim, whether in the pool or on the beach. Contrary to what people know, it can be very easy to drown even if one knows how to swim. Circumstances like sudden dips or rip tide waves make it very hard for swimmers to disentangle themselves and to come back above the surface. Moreover, a person can be a victim of “dry drowning” after a dive in the water, and the symptoms (such as being dizzy, disoriented, or coughing a lot) are much harder to pin down. Swimmers are enjoined to follow all the rules governing the swimming holes they’re visiting, such as the red and yellow flag zones and the lifeguard’s available hours. In addition, it’s wise for swimmers of all ages to enter the water in groups so that no companion goes unwatched.
- Stings and bites from marine animals. Revellers at the beach may fear shark bites, as areas along the coasts of New South Wales yield reports of unprovoked shark attacks. However, it makes more sense to keep an eye out for other marine lurkers, such as jellyfish and cone shells. The deadly box jellyfish, for one, can be spotted in shallow waters during the warm summer months. It becomes all the more urgent to heed advisories for when these creatures appear and to seek immediate relief with antihistamines or hydrocortisone cream if one is stung.
- Spiders. Speaking of another animal to watch out for in the summer—spiders are rife over these hot days. If upset, some species can bite humans. In some scenarios, victims can experience symptoms like nausea, muscle pain, and/or infection—in which case the victim should be rushed to the hospital immediately. It’s best to be aware of their presence and be extra careful in turning over garden equipment, potted plants, outdoor furniture, toys, and the like in case a spider falls out.
- Food poisoning. Australians are also witness to frequent cases of food poisoning in the summer. The main culprit behind food spoilage is the heat, but it is also possible to contract food poisoning in a form like ciguatera, which happens when warm water fish like trout, mackerel, or reef cod ingest toxic algae. At times, food poisoning can be tricky to handle, as the contaminated food may not look or taste spoiled when eaten and only cause vomiting or diarrhea some hours after. Thus, everyone should ensure that the food they bring to summer celebrations comes from a reputable source, and is properly cooked, stored, and protected from exposure.
For as long as you’re prepared for these 5 common threats, you’re all set to frolic in the Australian summer sun. Cheers, and stay safe, hydrated, and healthy!