Spring is coming! Or at least we thought it was until this recent return to frigid temperatures. Trees are blooming or budding, the bluebonnets are trying to bloom, and kids and parents alike are anticipating a break from school and the daily routine during spring break. All over Texas, families take advantage of this week in March for family time and often a road trip without the heat of summer. College students also look forward to the break from classes as a chance to get away from campus with friends. Even if you’re doing a stay-cation, longer daylight hours provide great opportunities to just be outside enjoying all types of activities. But spring break can also be the season for injuries, blistering sunburns and complications from chronic illnesses that can land you in the ER.
Here are a few tips to make your spring break fun and memorable, while keeping yourself, your family, and your friends safe and healthy.
Tips for everyone:
- Wear appropriate protective gear, such as helmets and life jackets.
- Use extra caution when swimming or boating. Supervise all children in your care when in any type of water. You should always be close enough to reach out and touch young children when in the water.
- Take adequate precautions to avoid getting too much sun: use sunscreen, wear light-colored clothing, hats, and sunglasses. Babies under 6 months of age should be kept out of direct sunlight. Always choose a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15.
- Choose a variety of activities that include physical movement. We all can do more to get moving, especially after weeks and months of being mostly indoors working or studying.
- If you’re taking a road trip, take turns driving. Rotating drivers helps keep everyone rested.
- Never leave valuables in a vehicle in plain sight. Lock items in your trunk before you reach your destination.
- Keep foods at the proper temperature. Nothing can wreck time outdoors or a vacation faster than foodborne illness.
- Make sure to pack needed medications, including possible needed over-the-counter meds like pain relievers and antacid tablets.
- Consume alcohol responsibly. Always good advice, whether at home or traveling.
- Always wear seat belts – and insist everyone in the vehicle do the same. Children under 13 should ride in the back seat for maximum safety. Children younger than 8 years old or under 4’9” in height are required to be in the appropriate child safety seat system.
- Carry health insurance cards and prescription cards with you in case you do need to seek health care while away from home.
A few more tips for college spring breakers:
- Limit alcohol. An alcohol-related vehicle crash kills someone every 31 minutes and nonfatally injures someone every 2 minutes. Always choose a designated driver and NEVER drink and drive. Avoid alcohol when boating. Decide before you go out what your limits are. Know the liquor laws of wherever you’ll be traveling, especially if outside of the US. Always keep an eye on your drink. If you go to the bathroom, take it with you! Do not drink from open beverage sources. Do not drink on an empty stomach. Remember, you don’t need alcohol to have fun and there are lots of non-alcoholic beverages.
- Protect yourself. Yes, love is all around – especially it seems in the spring – but so are sexually-transmitted diseases. The only 100% sure way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancy is by not having sex. Choices to have sex or not to have sex are extremely personal and shouldn’t be influenced by anyone’s mandates but your own.
- Watch out for your friends. A good rule for safe partying: “Come with your friends. Leave with your friends.” Look out for each other. Being an active bystander is the best way to work together to end violence of all kinds. Keep this in mind whether driving, staying in hotels, eating out, and especially if traveling outside of the US. It’s also a good idea to let someone outside your group have some idea of your whereabouts. Yes, it’s fun to be independent and follow your whim, but you never know when someone may need to find you quickly.
Remember, whether you stay at home, take a day trip or road trip, or fly off to some far-away place, safety is always first! Happy Spring Break from all your friends at Integrity Urgent Care!
Fight Back on Spring Break. Spring break safety tip sheet. Girls Fight Back [online]. [accessed 5 Mar 2019].
Memorial Hermann. Top 10 spring break safety tips for families. EverydayWell health blog. 9 Mar 2016 [accessed 5 Mar 2019]. http://blog.memorialhermann.org/top-10-spring-break-safety-tips-for-families/
US Department of Health & Human Services. Spring break health and safety tips. CDC Office of Women’s Health. Last reviewed 23 Dec 2015 [accessed 5 Mar 2019].