Summer is filled with fun and sun. With long Montana winters, it’s important to enjoy every summer day to the fullest. And the best way to do that is to stay safe. Here are a few things to think about that will help keep you safe as you head outside this summer.
Water requirements vary by person, activity level, and how much an individual sweats. It varies by size, age and fitness level, among other factors. But just because some people need more water than others, doesn’t mean you should forget to hydrate more in hot weather. Be sure to carry enough water for your outdoor adventures this summer. Remember, alcohol and caffeinated drinks don’t get you what you need for hydration.
Especially in those first few hot days of summer, our bodies aren’t well adapted to the heat. Your body needs certain minerals to retain water and use it properly for digestion, regulating muscles, maintaining blood pressure, and other body processes. So if you’re sweating buckets in summer heat, be sure to keep on top of restocking electrolytes. Sometimes that means eating a salty snack, or you might want to drop an electrolyte tablet in your water bottle, or drink a Gatorade.
When fire season starts and smoke fills the air, it can be frustrating to stay inside. But for certain groups, going outside can be dangerous. Those groups usually include children, the elderly, and people with lung issues that may include asthma or long Covid. But staying closed up in summer is sometimes easier said than done, especially when you don’t have A/C. If you need to leave your windows open for ventilation when it’s smoky outside, you can purchase a room air cleaner, or even make a DIY version for your home. Even if the recommendations for your group don’t include limiting time in the outdoors, recognize when smoke may be having an impact on you. If you’re coughing and short of breath when you might not usually be, you might want to consider heading indoors.
With summer weather and time on the water comes important safety concerns. By law, boats (even rafts, kayaks, pontoons and stand-up paddleboards) have to carry a life jacket for every person on board. And children under 12 years old, anyone being towed by the boat (think tubers and water skiers), and anyone on a jet ski or wave runner, need to be wearing one at all times.
In Montana, warm weather brings out big wildlife. And if you’re recreating outdoors in bear country, it’s a good idea to be prepared. Pick up some bear spray, and make sure to store your food and other attractants properly when you camp. That means stashing everything from trail mix to lotion and chapstick in bear proof containers, like approved coolers with special closures, bear canisters, hard sided vehicles, and campground bear boxes.
With summer camping trips and Fourth of July fun, there’s a good chance that you’ll be interacting with fire this summer. Whenever that’s the case, be sure to make sure that there isn’t a burn ban in your area, and that the activities are allowed in your city, county, or public land. Have a fire extinguisher or water handy just in case, and make sure that children are under adult supervision.
Being safe outside in Montana’s summer is just one part of enjoying this state. Being the healthiest version of yourself can help too. For medical care that’s affordable and accessible to all, get in touch with a CHP clinic to learn how you can access services and find assistance to cover your medical costs.