Beaches, braais, sunshine, parties, swimming and surfing. Sounds like heaven on earth. A long summer holiday lies ahead and our summers are glorious. Keeping the following things in mind could make the holiday great until the end. Who feels like spending New Year in hospital anyway?
Having fun without losing your head. Our sunshine is dangerous, especially between 10 am and 4pm. The hole in the ozone layer particularly affects South Africa and Australia. Get into the habit of covering up, wearing sunglasses and hats and don’t skimp on the high factor sunscreen. Skin cancer is a very real danger and let’s face it, you don’t want to look like an old granadilla by the time you hit 30.
Not waving but drowning. There’s no two ways about it – the sea is dangerous. It might be lovely and cool and inviting, but underneath the surface of the water lurks danger in the form of currents, sudden dips on the ocean floor, rocks, bluebottles and, if you are extremely unlucky, sharks. One wave can knock you over and one current can pull you out to sea. Enjoy the sea, but don’t get in over your head. Never swim alone and don’t try and show off.
Festive season fatty. Holidays and weight gain often go together. Have fun by all means, and what does it matter if you pick up a kilo or two – who doesn’t? Just watch out that it doesn’t become more than that. Long walks along the beach can counteract this easily.
No sunscreen, no sun. Our summers are hot and you could get sunburnt. If this does happen, take a cool bath or shower. Put cool compresses on your skin. Take aspirin for pain relief. If any blisters develop, do not break them. If you start shivering, you need to see a doctor, as you could have sunstroke.
Baby light my fire. The sun is not the only thing that can burn you. Braaivleis fires injure many people every year. Stand well away from them and don’t even think of lighting them with meths or any other inflammable liquid. Always keep a bucket of water close by. Throw sand on the coals before leaving them.
Shade those peepers. The ultraviolet rays of the sun could damage your eyes. If you don’t have money for expensive sunglasses, wear a hat with a reasonably wide brim or a sun visor.
Coffin on wheels? Never get into a car with a drunk driver. With a drunk driver behind the steering wheel, the car instantly turns into a coffin on wheels.
Rolling merrily along. Take care when rollerskating or skateboarding and preferably keep off roads that are in use. Wear helmets and knee and elbow pads.
Look mom, no hands. Play, but don’t be silly Don’t run around the edges of swimming pools, unless you feel like starting the new year without your front teeth. Don’t crush cool drink cans to show your strength – you might lose the ligaments on your hand. And be careful when swimming in farm dams or in vleis.
Ouch! What was that? Sea sand often contains rusty nails and glass shards. Be mindful of where you walk. If you step in something, make sure you clean the wound properly and if it was anything rusty, you might need a tetanus shot.
Summer loving. Holiday romances are great fun, but don’t get too involved, as chances are you could get your heart broken. Enjoy them while they last, (remember the rules of safe sex if it goes that far), but don’t get your hopes up too high. When we are on holiday, our requirements are also slightly different to what they would be normally.
Doing the bakkie flip. Every summer you see large groups of youngsters on the back of open bakkies. Hold on tight and don’t fool around – falling off at even 10 kph could injure you severely. And who wants to lose their head during the summer holidays?
Have fun, take care – make this a holiday to remember, and not because of your visit to the Intensive Care Unit at the local hospital. - (Susan Erasmus, Health24 August 2006)