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Outdoor Summer Fun: Local Osteopath Offers Advice Focused on Hydration and Overall safety

Outdoor Summer Fun: Local Osteopath Offers Advice Focused on Hydration and Overall safety

School’s out and it’s time to remind yourself and your family about summer safety rules such as avoiding sunburns, safety at the beach, or the July 4 weekend.

While Northern California doesn’t get as hot as some other parts of the state or the country, it’s still easy to get sunburned and dehydrated while enjoying outdoor activities, says Dr. Jaya Kediyal, a Washington Hospital board-certified osteopath and family medicine specialist. “Don’t think you won’t get sunburned because it seems to be a cool day. The sun is stronger than you think during the summer,” she says.

Dr. Kediyal emphasizes the need to remain hydrated with the warmer weather. “Children, especially, can become dehydrated while playing in the yard, the pool or at the beach,” she says.

In addition to drinking plenty of fluids, she recommends eating fruit rich in fluids such as melons, oranges and pineapple.

“Avoid sodas and other beverages with caffeine, such as coffee or tea, even iced tea. Alcoholic beverages also can increase dehydration and can have a more intoxicating effect when you aren’t hydrated,” she explains. “You think you’re drinking plenty of fluids but people need more than they think to avoid dehydration when playing or working outside during the summer.”

In addition to keeping covered with sunscreen when outdoors or in the pool, Dr. Kediyal recommends wearing clothing such as a T-shirt while playing in the pool or on the beach as an additional screen against a burn. “Don’t forget hats and remember that you can become sunburned even on overcast or cloudy days,” she emphasizes.

If you’re traveling during the summer, be sure to stop regularly to drink fluids and rest, she adds. “Some people want to push on driving to get to their destination; that’s when it’s easy to become dehydrated and, if you are driving in hot weather, to even get sunstroke,” she says.

When hiking, be sure to wear a hat and clothing that is breathable and protects against spiders, ticks and other insects. Hike along shaded trails whenever possible and make sure someone knows where you will be hiking in case of an accident, she adds.

Food safety also is important, especially when having picnics or even eating out-of-doors by a pool or on a beach. Keep cold food below 40 degrees Fahrenheit by packing it on ice in a cooler. Cook food thoroughly when grilling and use a food thermometer to make sure the fish, chicken or meat is cooked to the proper temperature. And, use separate coolers for perishable food and for beverages so that perishables are not exposed to the heat with the ongoing opening of the beverage cooler.

At the beach, pay attention to the beach safety signs and keep away from the water’s edge if a riptide warning is posted, Dr. Kediyal warns. “Don’t allow children to swim alone or play in the water — even a kiddie pool — without adult supervision. Don’t rely on an inflatable flotation device to protect a child from drowning.”

As for the Fourth of July, Dr. Kediyal warns against fireworks of any kind. Keep all fireworks away from children and be aware of the damage even a single firecracker can cause. “A firecracker can cause serious damage to a hand or face when lit while holding it. Terrible accidents happen when a person plans to toss a lit firecracker, but it explodes before it can be thrown.”

By just paying attention to a few simple rules, summer can be a wonderful time for family fun, but it also requires caution and attention so as not to have the fun spoiled by illness, sunburns or accidents.

To learn more about Dr. Kediyal or other Washington Township Medical Foundation physicians, visit