Occupational Health Strategies, Inc.
Kent W. Peterson, M.D., FACOEM
901 Preston Avenue, Suite 400
Charlottesville, Virginia 22903-4491
TEL: (434) 977-3784
FAX: (434) 977-8570
Email: OHS@HealthySelf.org

Last updated: February 17, 2009

Summer Safety Sampler

By Kent W. Peterson, Assisted by Amy Lemley

Ah, the joys of summer. Taking family vacations. Sipping poolside coolers. Hiking the great outdoors. Fighting jet lag. Searching for ticks.

Even when the living is easy, protecting the health and safety of those you care about may not be. If you're like most people, the myths from summers past are swimming in your head. Must you wait an hour after eating before you dive into the deep end? Can you catch your husband's poison ivy? Does "don't drink the water" still apply for foreign travel?

Now is the time to separate fact from fiction. See how you fare with this summer safety sampler. True or False?


1. I should wait one hour after eating before I go swimming.
2. Poison ivy is contagious.
3. Mayonnaise is the most dangerous ingredient in picnic food.
4. Before grilling ground beef or chicken, I should sniff to check for contamination with E. coli or salmonella.
5. Touching contaminated meat cannot infect me with E. coli or salmonella.


6. If I'm bitten by a Lyme disease-carrying deer tick, I'll probably know it.
7. If I'm bitten by an infected tick, I probably won't develop Lyme disease.
8. A quick twisting motion between the fingers is the best way to remove a tick.


9. I can fight jet lag with sunlight and melatonin.
10. A few alcoholic drinks during the flight can prevent jet lag.
11. "Don't drink the water" is good advice for foreign travelers.
12. Taking antibiotics before foreign travel is a good way to prevent "traveler's diarrhea."
13. Every traveler should inquire about vaccinations before traveling outside the United States and Canada.


14. I should put sunscreen on as soon as I go outdoors or arrive at the pool or beach.
15. I need sunscreen on a cloudy day.
16. If I'm not turning pink, I'm not burning.
17. Sunburns in childhood are a risk factor for skin cancer in adulthood.
18. I can get a sunburn even after applying sunscreen.
19. Sunscreen allows only safe ultraviolet rays to penetrate the skin for a healthy tan without sunburn.
20. Sunglasses cause the pupils to dilate, allowing the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays to damage the eyes.
21. Not all sunglasses block the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays.
22. Clear lenses cannot protect the eyes from sunlight.


23. Fainting is a sign of heat stroke.
24. Drinking liquids during or after heat exposure is a good way to stay cool.
25. I should consume a sports drink, rather than water, after an hour of vigorous outdoor activity.
26. If my body needs water, I'll know it.
27. People who remove their shirts during intense outdoor work stay cooler longer.
28. A 100% cotton shirt is the best choice for outdoor activities in the heat of summer.

Weekend Warrior

Which of these summertime adventures are riskiest? Rank on a scale of 1 to 10:

__ Bungi jumping
__ Hang-gliding
__ Bicycling
__ All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs)
__ Motorcycle Riding
__ Horseback Riding
__ Whitewater Rafting
__ Rock Climbing
__ Sky Diving
__ Surfing