The long, idyllic days of summer are perfect for relaxing and enjoying time with family and friends in the backyard. But just because you are close to home, doesn't mean you are safe from common outdoor hazards.
Danger: Angry wasps
Action plan: Wasps are aggressive, so hightail it out of there if you disturb a nest. If a wasp gets you, remove the stinger with a fingernail or tweezers and apply a topical antihistamine.
Danger: Buzzing bees
Action plan: Swarming bees are not usually after you; they're protecting the queen. But if a swarm does attack, cover your nose and mouth, then call 911. Stings can be deadly.
Danger: Bloodthirsty mosquitoes
Action plan: Repellents with DEET work best. Want to go chemical-free? Keep the bloodsuckers at bay with citronella or a fan — or try soybean oil on your skin.
Danger: Food poisoning
Action plan: Try sucking on ice chips or taking sips of an electrolyte-enriched drink. Dehydration is a real danger as you age, particularly if you are on certain medications, so if the nausea and diarrhea last for more than two days, get to a doctor.
Danger: A fall from a ladder
Action plan: First, look up. If there's no risk of an errant branch crashing down, stay still and wait. First responders should act quickly but carefully. "If there's any obvious bleeding, apply direct pressure to the bleeding site and keep the pressure on," says Stephen Cantrill, an ER doc at Denver Health. And next time, think about enlisting your adult children for help. In a study published in the Journal of Surgical Research, people older than 66 were 3.4 times as likely as younger people to suffer head injuries after falling from a ladder.
Danger: A medical emergency at your backyard barbecue
Action plan: If you're unsure about what's happening, don't hesitate to call 911. "Often, people don't want to inconvenience the rescue squad," Cantrill says. If you're a frequent host or have a pool, consider taking a CPR course at your local hospital or Red Cross chapter.