Authored by Sara Hoen

Don’t let these 5 common injuries ruin your summer

July 10, 2023 | Family MedicineUrgent CareValue-Based Care

Don’t let summer injuries ruin your fun. Learn how to prevent them and why they most likely won’t require an ER visit.

Summertime means outdoor activities, pool parties, and great barbecue, but the summer heat also brings an increased risk for a variety of illness and injury. Don’t let preventable accidents spoil your fun; let’s dive in to the most common summer injuries and how you can avoid them:

Heat-related illnesses

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 9,235 people are hospitalized every year due to heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and dehydration. Common symptoms include dizziness, fatigue, weak and rapid pulse, nausea, and low blood pressure.

How to protect yourself: Staying hydrated is one of the best ways to regulate your body temperature. The CDC advises drinking 1 cup (8 ounces) of water every 15-20 minutes when working in the heat. It’s also more effective to drink smaller amounts at shorter intervals instead of gulping down large amounts of liquid infrequently. The CDC also recommends avoiding energy drinks (or anything with caffeine), alcohol, and salt tablets. If you know you’ll be out in the sun all day, wear loose and breathable clothing, stay shaded when you can, and take breaks in cool, air-conditioned areas if possible.

Summer Skin Injuries

Sunburns are common in the summertime, but they shouldn’t be taken lightly. Prolonged exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays can increase your risk of skin cancer and premature aging. Skin burns are also frequently reported during the summer months. They are usually caused by coming into contact with hot outdoor surfaces, campfires, and fireworks.

How to protect yourself: Wearing sunscreen with SPF 30 or 50 will help protect your skin from UV rays as long as you remember to reapply every 2 hours.

To prevent burns from campfires, make sure your campfire is built on gravel or dirt, never grass. Always have a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher ready to reduce flames. Never leave your campfire unattended, especially if you have children with you, and make sure your fire is completely extinguished by stirring the ashes and embers thoroughly before you leave.

To treat skin burns, use cool water after coming into contact with fire or hot surfaces. Cover the area with a clean towel or bandage. If necessary, seek medical attention. Read our blog on campfire safety to learn more about fire safety and prevention tips.

Swimming accidents

Swimming accidents can include drowning, near-drowning, diving accidents, and boating or jet skiing accidents. Unfortunately, drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 4.

How to protect yourself: Never leave young children unsupervised and without a lifejacket. Do not rely on air-filled or foam toys, as these are not safety devices. When swimming outdoors in lakes, rivers, or oceans, be cautious of strong currents and check water conditions before entering. Always wear a lifejacket when going boating or jet skiing, even if you are a confident swimmer.

Bites and stings

Spending quality time with nature can be nourishing, but it can also increase your chance of being stung by poisonous insects, animals, and plants. These minor reactions can range from mild irritation to, in rare cases, a potential life-threatening condition.

How to protect yourself: Use insect repellent containing DEET, check for ticks, and wear protective clothing and closed-toed shoes during hikes. It’s also advised not to wear overly bright-colored clothing or scented lotions/perfumes because these can attract insects. Seek immediate medical attention if you begin to experience severe swelling or difficulty breathing.

Food poisoning

Animal proteins like beef, chicken, seafood, and dairy products can trigger unpleasant foodborne illnesses if not cooked and stored properly. Summer cookouts are something to look forward to, so make sure you protect yourself and your family from contracting dangerous illnesses like gastroenteritis (stomach flu), salmonella, and E.Coli. Symptoms of food poisoning can include diarrhea, vomiting, severe stomach cramps, and nausea.

How to protect yourself: Use a meat thermometer to help you cook food to its appropriate internal temperature. Don’t leave food out in the sun and make sure raw meats are stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Avoid cross contamination by storing meats separately from other foods.

Should I go to the ER if I become injured?

Generally, most common summer injuries can be treated by your Primary Care provider or at the nearest Urgent Care. Go to the ER only as a last resort or if your situation is clearly life-threatening.

Here is a list of some of the most common issues that can be treated at Primary Care and/or Urgent Care:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Animal or insect bites
  • Sprains and strains
  • Cold and flu
  • Cuts requiring stitches
  • Earaches
  • Eye infections or irritation
  • Fever
  • Minor burns
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Skin conditions
  • Sore Throat
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Dehydration or heat exhaustion
  • Suspected broken bone*

*Not causing severe deformity or protrusion

It’s best to contact your Primary Care provider first, and then go from there. This will help cut down on wait times and excessive medical costs. Check out our blog to learn about the differences between Primary Care, Urgent Care, and the ER.

Revere Health proudly operates multiple Family Medicine and Urgent Care locations across Utah. Because Revere Health practices value-based care, you can trust that you will receive the highest quality care at the lowest possible cost. Head to the Revere Health Urgent Care or Family Medicine webpages to find a location near you.

Zahra Nielsen


Zahra Nielsen

Zahra Nielsen currently serves as Revere Health’s Community Relations Specialist. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science from Utah Valley University with the intention of working with at-risk communities, but she has since found a love for community engagement, volunteerism, and outreach. Since graduating, her career has taken her to non-profit organizations across the country. From Washington D.C, New York, and Salt Lake City, she has had the opportunity to work with notable organizations such as the National Council for Adoption, Volunteers of America, and United Way. After years of working in different areas of community engagement, Zahra has found her niche in writing. She hopes to pursue this creative form of outreach as a way of inspiring community members to be mindful of their well-being and the well-being of others. In her free time, Zahra likes to practice and teach yoga. She also enjoys live theatre, listening to music, and watching endless hours of quirky movies and TV shows with her husband.

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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.