Summer Safety Practices

Summer fun is in full swing! Remember to take precautions to keep you and your loved ones safe while enjoying your favorite summer activities.

COVID-19 Considerations

This summer is an exciting time as COVID restrictions have relaxed!  As we begin to resume a lifestyle we had prior to the pandemic, we must consider how comfortable we are in social settings.  While vaccines are highly effective in reducing COVID-19 infections, there is no such thing as zero-risk situations.

Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and our campus community.  The vaccine is safe and effective.  If you have concerns, CDC has more information about the safety of the vaccines and clarifies some misinformation.

You have many options on how to get your COVID-19 vaccine.

  • If you are a U of U student, you can schedule a vaccination by calling the Student Health Center at 801-581-6431
  • Find campus vaccine events here
  • Check out your county health department’s website. If you are within Salt Lake City County, you can find clinics here
  • Visit Vaccines.gov
  • Text your zip code to “Vaccine” (822-862) for information on vaccination locations in your area
  • Call Utah’s COVID-19 Information Hotline: 1-800-456-7707

As a reminder, you are considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 two weeks after their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single dose of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.

Regardless of your vaccination status, wearing a mask remains an effective means of preventing COVID.  The University is a mask-friendly campus and askes everyone to be respectful of an individual’s decision on mask wearing.

We all should continue to clean our hands frequently, avoid close contact with sick people, and cover our mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.

 

Sun Safety and UV rays 

Summer fun often involves time in the sun, which can be health-boosting.  Sunlight exposure can support bone health, treat some skin conditions, reduce the risk of certain cancers, and boost moods.  However, in addition to visible light, the sun emits UV rays, which damages the skin, leading to sunburn and increasing skin cancer risk.

Fortunately, there are many ways to protect yourself from UV rays.  You can wear sunscreen whenever you are in the sun for more than 15 minutes. There’s a lot of choices when it comes to sunscreen selection.  Not all sunscreens feel like the oily lotion of childhood.  Some are odorless and easy to apply.  Just remember to look at the SPF number, which tells you how well it protects you from the damage of UV rays.  An SPF 30 would take you 30 times longer to burn than if you used no sunscreen.

Here are some tips for creating your sun protection plan:

  • Apply sunscreen thoroughly. Don’t forget your lips!
  • Reapply at least every 2 hours
  • Wear sunglasses that block UV rays
  • Wear a hat or clothes to cover exposed skin
  • Try to stay out of the sun between 12 – 4 PM

Burns happen, and they can be painful.  Fortunately, the last burn you had could be your last.  If you do get a sunburn, here are some ways to treat it:

  • Cool it down. Do not apply ice directly to the skin
  • Apply a gentle moisturizer to the burn
  • Drink lots of water as a burn can dehydrate you
  • Take medication for discomfort
  • Use a cool compress
  • See a doctor if you experience severe blistering, fever, and chills, or confusion

 

Hydration and Alcohol

It is the summer, and the heat is on! Do not forget your mask, sun protection, and water bottle!

This summer is the best time of year to celebrate some covid safe outdoor activities like festivals, parks, hikes, and social gatherings. It is always important to maintain hydration in the sun and heat, especially when drinking alcohol. Drinking alcohol alone will significantly increase the risk of dehydration, and in time you will not be the life of the party. So please hydrate before, during, and after drinking alcohol. In recovery, consume beverages and foods that are beneficial to the body. Your body will appreciate the hydration and will be ready for the next celebration.

Here are some tips to keep hydrated while drinking alcohol.

  • Do not drink on an empty stomach. Make sure you eat your fav summertime meal first.
  • Take a break (an hour) between each alcoholic beverage and check-in on a friend.
  • Sports drinks and coconut water are great options for low-calorie intake and hydration.
  • Eat foods that contain high amounts of water like watermelon, strawberries, and tomatoes.
  • Add some fruit to your water to be more festive and to maintain hydration.
  • Choose your alcoholic beverage wisely and count your drinks.
  • Know yourself! Do you and know your limits.
  • Here are additional tips for safe drinking

In all, nothing beats water.

Water is life, and when consumed, you will continue to be the life of the party.

Learn more about how alcohol affects your body here and the risks and benefits of drinking moderately here.

 

Alcohol Considerations

According to the American College Health Association, many students keep the number of alcoholic drinks they consume in a sitting to 4 or below, which is considered moderate drinking.  Moderate drinking is defined as up to 4 drinks for men and 3 for women. However, roughly 6-7% of students admit to drinking more than 7 drinks on social occasions.

Freedom of choice is always honored and encouraged when within legal and rule abiding contexts.  If you choose to drink, we ask that you do so responsibly.  Please understand your limitations, tolerance, and most of all respect the choices of your peers.  Bring your own sealed containers that have a desired percentage of content to avoid any contaminants.  Knowing and respecting your own tolerance will help ensure you can enjoy the holiday to its fullest.  As a reminder, the legal amount of consumption within the state of Utah differs from other states.  The legal Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) limit in Utah is 0.05 percent for drivers over the age of 21.

There are several family-friendly events throughout Utah.  Check out July 4th celebrations throughout Utah here.

In the words of Suzy Kassem, “Stay true to yourself.  An original is worth more than a copy.”

 

Fire Safety

If you’ve lived in Utah for any amount of time, you know that July brings two things: fireworks and… fireworks. While fireworks can bring a sense of celebration to our summer get-togethers, they can also pose a great risk to our environment. Salt Lake has had little-to-no rainfall, so this is especially true this summer. As of late June, 92.5% of the state of Utah is categorized as experiencing “extreme drought”, which is the fourth rating out of 5 for drought intensity.   

Last year, the American West experienced similar drought conditions, and as a result, it was ravaged by wildfires that burned millions of acres. This year is no different. Record temperature, dry conditions, and high winds can be a deadly combination to many of the places we enjoy. Our neighborhood parks, foothills, and state and national forests are vulnerable tinderboxes. So are our parking strips, lawns, and, therefore, our homes.  

As we move toward our summer holidays, we will expand our sphere of awareness to include, not only our personal wellness, but also the wellness of the environment that surrounds us... And we encourage you to do the same. The Fire Marshal and City Mayor have made tough calls to keep our homes safe, banning fireworks throughout Salt Lake City and other surrounding areas. Show you care about this beautiful city we call home by finding creative, fire-proof ways to celebrate with loved ones this July. 

 

Be safe, be mindful and have fun!

Center for Student Wellness Team