Summer umbrella

Summer’s pretty much here, and it’s time to bust out your arsenal of summer safety tips. While the next few months are all about fun in the sun, whether you’re camping, cottaging, or just lounging around the house, it’s important to know exactly what to do when summer emergencies strike. During this time of year, we tend to relax and let our guard down – both good things, but that’s usually when accidents will happen.

It’s not about obsessing over scary “what ifs,” but preparing for how you’re going to handle them. Here are nine summer safety tips for you to learn off-by-heart so you can get back to the whole relaxing thing:

1. When you get stung by a bee…

Remove the stinger by scraping a credit card (or anything with a straight edge) along the area. After cleaning the wound with soap and water, help ease the pain by applying aloe vera or a mixture of baking soda and water. The faster you’re able to remove the stinger and apply ointment to the area, the less it’ll swell.

2. When the kids stumble across poison ivy (literally)…

Rush them inside and immediately wash the area with dish detergent. This will strip the skin of urushol (the chemical in the plant that causes the rash and blisters) – catching it within the first 10 minutes is the best way to avoid getting poison ivy. If a rash does appear, use calamine lotion to ease itchiness and dry any blisters. Make sure to wash the clothes they’re wearing right away in case there’s traces of poison ivy on them.

3. When hubby burns himself on the barbecue…

Run the burned area under cold water right away, and have him take an ibuprofen to reduce inflammation. Use aloe vera to help the healing process along, and if the burn blisters or turns black, make a doctor’s appointment just to be safe.

4. When you find a tick on yourself or your pet…

As far as summer safety tips go, this one’s my least favorite (bugs, ew!). Use tweezers and grasp as close to the head as possible without squeezing its body (while you know, trying not to pass out). Clean the area with soapy water and keep an eye on it: If flu-like symptoms follow or a rash, get in touch with your doctor or vet to determine if you or your pet need antibiotics.

5. When you’re hit with a rock from the lawnmower…

Maybe watching your guy mow the lawn isn’t fun after all. Clean the wound with soap and water and bandage it up. Keep an eye on it for the next few days in case of infection. If it’s a minor injury, put ice on it to reduce swelling (and one of my personal summer safety tips: Tell hubby you could really use a cocktail).

6. When the mosquitoes drive you crazy…

Either cover your bites with calamine lotion or a baking soda/water paste to relieve itching. Get rid of all standing water, like in pet dishes and plant holders, and make sure you have bug repellent on hand for when you’re going to be outside for long periods of time. Sometimes, citronella just won’t cut it, but fortunately there are a number of natural (and effective) bug repellents on the market.

7. When you’re adorable sandals give you a blister…

It’s hard to resist, but avoid popping it. It’s your body’s way of protecting the skin healing under the blister (and as someone who accidentally popped one once, trust me, you want it there). Keep it clean and dry, and cover it with a bandage after it pops on its own. Once the swelling goes down, take the bandage off to allow the area to heal.

8. When your potato salad seems a little iffy but you eat it anyway…

Womp, womp. Most food-borne illnesses last between 12 and 24 hours, so get ready for a long haul. If symptoms get worse or you’re perpetually dehydrated, head to the ER, stat, and tell them it was the potato salad. In the library. With the candelabra.

9. When you love the heat, but it doesn’t love you…

Stay ultra-hydrated at all times. Carry water with you everywhere. When it’s super hot out, only go outside for 15 to 20 minutes at a time (or go back in when you start sweating, whichever comes first). As your body loses water through your sweat, dehydration’s just around the corner. Of all the summer safety tips, take this one uber-seriously.

What summer safety tips do you swear by?

Related on Organic Authority:

6 Tips to Avoid Food Poisoning This Summer

Don’t Forget to Write! 8 Summer Camps for Adults

What’s on Your Summer Bucket List? 7 Fun Summer Goals

Image: (Mick Baker)rooster