Survival tips for Israel's searing hot summer

Dehydration sneaks up on children and others vulnerable to it.

June 18, 2015 02:42
2 minute read.
israel election

Israelis enjoy the day off on Election Day at Palmachim Beach south of Tel Aviv, March 16, 2015. (photo credit: SHARON UDASIN)

With older pupils already on summer vacation and younger children about to finish school, safety experts at Petah Tikva’s Schneider Children’s Medical Center urge parents to keep alert to prevent tragedies. There is a sharp increase in the number of injuries from accidents in and around homes during the summer, according to the experts.

The main causes of dozens of deaths during the more than- two-month break are drowning, dehydration, falls from heights, bicycles (especially the popular-but-dangerous electric ones), and other wheeled equipment.

Emergency department director Prof. Yehezkel Weissman recommends taking precautions to prevent accidents.

Dehydration sneaks up on children and others vulnerable to it. Without treatment, there is risk to the functioning of vital organs.

Symptoms are dryness in the mouth, too-little urination, restlessness and crying without tears. There may also be headaches, confusion, dizziness and – in extreme cases – loss of consciousness.

When such signs appear, one must drink water immediately and go to the nearest medical clinic or hospital emergency room. In case of losing consciousness, call an ambulance immediately.

To reduce exposure to the sun’s powerful ultraviolet rays – whose damage accumulates lifelong – make sure children wear a broad-brimmed hat and long-sleeved, light clothing.

Apply appropriate sunscreen regularly. It’s recommended not to be exposed to the sun between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., when radiation is the strongest.

When children and youths ride on conventional and especially electric bikes, roller blades, scooters and skates, they must always wear an approved protective helmet, which is the most effective way of preventing injury. They should also stay off the roads and ride in safe places, preferably not on sidewalks where they could injure others.

Every summer, there are numerous cases of drowning.

Children under the age of five should never be left alone in the water. Air-filled or other floats are helpful but are not lifesaving devices.

Private swimming pools must be enclosed by fences so children don’t fall in.

Jellyfish stings are usually not dangerous, but they can be very painful and irritate the skin. In the event of a sting, wash the skin in seawater rather than fresh water, and do not rub the skin, then apply emollient. If the victim feels generally weak or large blisters cover the area, go for medical treatment.

If a child suffers a bee or other insect bite, do not try to pull it out. If an allergic reaction occurs – such as shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing, a swollen face or lips – go quickly for medical treatment.

Falls from heights are especially common in the Arab sector, but all parents should install bars on windows.

If there are no bars, remove couches, beds and other furniture that are standing near windows, and do not allow children to play on roofs or balconies with low fences without an adult’s supervision.

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