We are approaching the time of year when Minnesota is at its best to enjoy outdoor activities. Exploring nature - green forests, lakes and rivers - can be good for our health, both mentally and physically.
I was born and raised in Finland, where we enjoy the outdoors rain or shine. The cold climate makes us tough! “Sisu” is a Finnish word we use to describe stoic determination, tenacity of purpose, grit, resiliency, and hardiness. I definitely find Minnesotans to have some “sisu” as well. In Minnesota, we also have big changes in climate, and all the challenges our four seasons bring. Summer allows us to enjoy the outdoors, whether exercising, camping or sitting on the beach.
Use these simple tips to be safe outdoors:
- Prevent dehydration. Stay well hydrated by drinking non-alcoholic beverages.
- Protect your skin from the sun. This is essential to prevent skin cancer – Exposure to UV radiation causes about 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers and about 86 percent of melanomas. It is important to protect your whole body. Protect your eyes with sunglasses - and wear protective clothing. Long sleeve shirts, made with thin cotton fabrics can actually be comfortable, even in warmer temperatures. Wear sunscreen with the appropriate SPF (sun protection factor). Remember to reapply after swimming.
- Prevent drowning:
- Swimming skills help. Taking part in formal swimming lessons reduces the risk of drowning among children ages 1 to 4 years old. However, many people don’t have basic swimming skills.
- Seconds count—learn CPR. CPR performed by bystanders not only saves lives but also improves the outcomes in drowning victims. The survival rate increases, the sooner CPR is started.
- Life jackets can reduce risk. About 50 percent of boating deaths could be prevented by the use of life jackets.
- Know the local weather conditions and forecast before swimming or boating
- Prevent insect bites: Use EPA-certified insect repellent. Do NOT use insect repellents on babies younger than 2 months old. Infants should be protected by clothing and mosquito netting. Do not apply repellent directly into the face, or on broken skin. Do NOT use products containing OLE or PMD on children under 3 years old. Keep insect repellent out of the reach of children. It's also helpful to keep a first aid kit with essentials for wounds and injuries.
When prepared well, we can fully enjoy nature at its best and worst. I wish everyone a great summer.