Stay healthy outdoors as the weather warms up
BURLINGTON — As the first signs of summer appear this Memorial Day weekend, health officials are reminding Vermonters to enjoy the outdoors safely - which includes continuing to take steps to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Temperatures will be warmer than we've had yet this year, so it's important to take extra caution in early season heat, officials say. The following are recommendations from the Vermont Department of Health.
Even though it's not as hot as mid-summer, it can take several weeks for our bodies to adjust to warmer conditions, so ease into outdoor activities. People who are active outside should start slowly, drink more fluids than usual, take extra breaks in the shade or cool places indoors. Remember to keep a physical distance of at least 6 feet between yourself and others who are not part of your household, and wear a face covering in more crowded areas.
Certain people are at an increased risk of heat-related illness and even death. People who work or exercise outdoors, older adults and young children, people who are obese or have a chronic medical condition, people taking certain medications, and people using drugs or alcohol should take extra precautions. The risk is higher for those who live alone or do not have air conditioning.
Muscle cramps, heavy sweating, nausea, headache, or light-headedness may all be signs of heat illness. Most heat illnesses can be treated with fluids and by resting in a cooler place. If symptoms persist or get worse, or someone you are with seems confused or loses consciousness, dial 9-1-1 and get immediate medical help. Learn more about symptoms and first aid at www.weather.gov/safety/heat-illness.
Whichever activity you choose, keep yourself and your family healthy by following these steps:
1: Wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, even on cloudy days. Protect yourself with a hat with a wide brim, sunglasses and long-sleeves and pants when you can.
2: Always wear a life jacket for boating and water sports. Use extra caution if you get in the water — temperatures are still cold.
3: Check yourself for ticks after you go outside. Use an EPA-registered insect repellent on skin and treat clothes with permethrin. Be tick smart.
4: Keep away from wild animals like raccoons, skunks, bats, foxes, and woodchucks that can carry rabies. Call the Rabies Hotline at 1-800-4-RABIES if you see an animal that you think needs help or is acting suspicious.
5: Never leave children, people with disabilities, older adults, or pets in parked vehicles. Look before you lock.
6: Keep food safe during your BBQs and picnics. Clean, separate, cook and chill!
Additional COVID-19 tips
If you're doing strenuous outdoor activity and can maintain a good distance from others, you do not need a face covering.
If you are wearing a face covering and experience trouble breathing, remove the covering immediately. Call 9-1-1 if the breathing trouble may be shortness of breath.
Wash your hands frequently. Use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
For more safety tips, visit healthvermont.gov/summer-safety-tips
Stay informed of weather forecasts and advisories at weather.gov/aly/
Learn more about hot weather and health impacts at healthvermont.gov/climate/heat
Get more information about COVID-19 at healthvermont.gov/covid19
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