Family Summer Water Safety: 6 Tips to Remember

The school year is ending, Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner and the summer pool season is about to start. When people are enjoying time at the beach or pool they aren’t focused on potential injuries or drownings, but accidents can happen. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, drowning is the second leading cause of death in children ages one to 14 and it is the leading cause of unintentional death in ages one to four.

From water safety to simply staying hydrated and free of sun damage, Gaston Medical Partners wants parents and caregivers to follow these six tips to help keep everyone safe around water this summer.

1. Stay Hydrated

Anytime people are enjoying fun in the sun by a body of water or a pool they should drink plenty of water. If people don’t stay hydrated, they run the risk of passing out leading to injuries or possible drowning.

2. Don’t Forget the Sunscreen

Damage from UV rays builds over time so slathering on sunscreen starts with even the smallest members of the family. Choose the right sunscreen by looking for SPF 30 or higher and those that offer broad-spectrum protection. Apply 15 minutes before going outside and be sure to re-apply, especially after being in the water or sweating.

3. Install a Fence Around Home Pools

If people have a pool in their backyard, they should take a few precautions to help keep children away from the area when they aren’t supposed to be swimming.

Install a fence around the pool with self-closing or self-latching gates and ensure the pool has proper drain covers. Installing an alarm on the door leading from the house to the pool can also help adults key in on any potential accidents.

4. Invest in Swim Lessons & Life Jackets

Swim lessons are available for even the youngest family members, but adults and older caregivers who cannot swim or are afraid of water should invest in them, too.

Additionally, make sure everyone is wearing a life jacket when in and around natural bodies of water or on a boat. The CDC recommends children wear a life jacket when in lakes or the ocean, even if they know how to swim.

5. Know How to Perform CPR

When people think of drowning, they think of a person flailing their arms and frantically calling for help, but drowning occurs quickly and quietly leaving rescuers only seconds.

Knowing CPR and how to use rescue equipment is important in case of an emergency. The American Red Cross offers CPR classes and, even if people have taken a CPR class in the past, it’s always a good idea to refresh their skills.

6. Pay Attention and Be Present

Even after taking these precautions, the most important one is to pay close attention. These lazy summer days spent with your little ones will be the memories you cherish when they are grown!

Scheduling an annual exam with your child’s Gaston Medical Partners doctor can allow parents to ask questions and assess developmental milestones. Your partners in health, for the entire family, are just a call away.

5 Tips to Help Lower Blood Pressure

High blood pressure or hypertension is a known risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Taking charge of your health by developing sustainable habits like regular exercise, eating a balanced diet and getting sufficient rest helps keep blood pressure within normal ranges.

Gaston Medical Partners recommends these five tips to help people lower their blood pressure without the intervention of medication.

1. Eat a Balanced Diet

A well-rounded diet is a big part of leading a healthier lifestyle. Incorporate whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products while reducing sodium intake. If snacking between meals, choose healthier options.

People can start changing their eating habits by keeping a food diary, reading food labels and referencing the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan.

2. Exercise Regularly

From a brisk walk to taking the dog for a quick run, consistent exercise should be a priority. Physical activity can help keep people at a healthy weight and lower their blood pressure. Aim to walk, jog, cycle, swim or dance for at least 30 minutes each day. Lifting weights can also help lower blood pressure and people should try incorporating strength training exercises at least twice a week.

3. Get Plenty of Sleep

Getting enough sleep is important to overall health, clear thinking and everyday function. Establish a good sleep routine that consists of a set bedtime avoiding electronics and ensuring your bedroom is quiet and relaxing.

4. Don’t Smoke and Limit Alcohol

When people smoke or drink too much alcohol they can raise their blood pressure putting them at an increased risk for heart attack and stroke. The CDC recommends that men consume no more than two alcoholic drinks per day, and women should stick to one per day. Smoking and tobacco use in general is bad for the lungs and overall health. For help quitting, talk to your doctor about options and visit the CDC’s Smoking and Tobacco Use website for more information.

5. Decrease Stress

Chronic or occasional stress can contribute to high blood pressure. It’s important to pinpoint stress triggers, such as work, finances, family or illness.
Coping with stress is possible by planning ahead, focusing on things in your control, making time to relax, practicing gratitude and avoiding stressful situations.

These healthy habits combined with routine doctor visits are key to lowering blood pressure. Find out if your blood pressure is in the normal range by scheduling a check-up today.