Warm weather and sunshine means more time in the great outdoors with family and friends. It also means more emergency room visits and absenteeism due to summer-related injuries. Companies can minimize the risk and keep people healthy by engaging employees in summer wellness challenges.
According to statistics from several reliable sources, three of the most common summer injuries are dehydration, sunburn and swimming accidents. Below are wellness tips and challenges to build awareness and promote summer safety.
Dehydration As the temperature and heat index goes up, your water intake must be a priority to keep your body hydrated. Water makes up 60 percent of our body weight and it needs daily replenishment. We lose water through sweat, humidity, and high altitudes. Surprisingly, water sports also cause water loss and can lead to dehydration.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is:
About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men
About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids for women
Challenge your employees to say YES to hydration. Track their water intake for 30 days. Create a team competition to see who wins the H20 award each month.
A sunburn is an inflammatory reaction to ultraviolet (UV) damage to the skin. The amount of melanin determines the skin's pigment and the outcome of either a severe sunburn or a bronzed glow. Sun damage happens with every sunburn and builds up over the years leading to one in five Americans being diagnosed with skin cancer by the age 70. The Skin Cancer Foundation offers facts, resources and prevention tips.
Here are a few lifestyle habits that can greatly minimize your employees' risk of skin cancer and melanoma:
Use broad spectrum sunscreen of SPF 15+ and reapply often
Seek the shade especially during high UV
Wear clothing with ultraviolet protection
Say NO to tanning beds
Challenge your employees to say YES to sunscreen, even on the cloudy days. Remind your employees that SPF sunscreen is eligible for reimbursement with flexible spending accounts (FSA), health savings accounts (HSA) and health reimbursement accounts (HRA). Pass out a sunscreen sample. Ask for testimonies from skin cancer survivors to share during your awareness campaigns.
Drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional death in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The major factors that lead to drowning are the lack of swimming ability, failure to wear life jacket when boating and alcohol use.
When spending time at a pool or a lake, always designate an adult as the lifeguard who sets the rules for the playtime and holds everyone accountable to them.
Here are some swimming rules to consider:
Never dive in shallow water
Jump in feet-first when you can't see the bottom
Get out of the pool during inclement weather
Require life jackets for those who cannot swim
Challenge your employees to say YES to be the lifeguard. Hand out a lifeguard award. Do a 30-second video contest to name the most serious lifeguard or the funniest lifeguard. (Note: Make rules around the bathing suit requirements, work friendly please!)