Stay Safe – Make the Most of Your Outdoor Adventures

Rain or shine, Oregonians love to head outdoors for adventure or exercise and thinking ahead can help you avoid a trip to an urgent care clinic or emergency department.

Here are some ideas to keep you healthy and safe at the beach or on a mountain trail.

Add Sun Protection

Love to soak up the sun after a long winter? Slather on sunscreen, wear a hat that shades your ears and neck, and put on UV-blocking sunglasses. Light-colored and breathable clothing are helpful and, depending on the activity, you might want to wear sun-protective clothing.

Keep Your Cool 

Sunburn can be painful but too much heat can be downright dangerous. Take it easy during the hottest times of day and drink water regularly to stay hydrated. Keep in mind that alcohol can impair your judgement so enjoy it in moderation or skip it altogether.

Protect That Noggin

Head injuries and trauma increase during the summer months for both children and adults. Before biking, skateboarding, riding an ATV or engaging in any other fast-propelling activity, pop on a well-fitting helmet.

Say No to Flip-flops

Pick appropriate footwear for the activity – and that rarely includes flip-flops! Even on the beach, broken glass and hot embers can hurt exposed toes. Hiking, biking, boating, climbing and other outdoor activities require different types of footwear to keep your feet and ankles safe and sound.

Be Wise Around Water 

Whether your activity takes you to the river, lake or sea, be extra careful. If you’re not a confident swimmer or don’t know how to swim, wear a life jacket. If you haven’t piloted a boat in a while, take a refresher boat safety course. If you plan on tubing or floating, beware of potential hazards created by low water levels or flooding.

Keep an Eye on the Forecast

If your plans include recreating in the mountains or spending time on a large body of water, it’s important to stay abreast of the latest weather forecast for the area. Weather in these locations can change quickly – going from sunshine to high winds in a short time. If the weather forecast begins to look iffy, make alternative plans. No one needs a “great adventure” to turn into a “misadventure.”

Injuries – Consider the Level of Care You Need

Some injuries or incidents can be treated with self-care while others may require urgent care or emergency care. Always call 911 for life-threatening injuries.

Here are a few examples:

  • Minor sprains and strains can be treated at home using the RICE method:
    – Rest.
    – Ice
    the injury.
    – Compress the area with a bandage wrap.
    – Elevate the injured area.
    Use over‑the‑counter pain relievers (ibuprofen or naproxen) to reduce pain and swelling. If there’s no improvement in a day or two, go to the doctor or an urgent care.
  • Minor spine, back and sports injuries can be treated at an urgent care. Go to the emergency department if you experience a fall of more than six feet and have tingling, numbness or weakness, or if limbs are broken or out of place.
  • Most cuts through the skin can be treated in urgent care.
  • For head injuries involving loss of consciousness, memory loss, unusual sleepiness, nausea or vomiting, go to an urgent care or emergency department. Children under the age of 2, anyone over age 75 and anyone using blood‑thinning medication should always go to the emergency department for evaluation after experiencing a head injury.

See Summer Safety Tips From Meaghan Norvell, PA-C

Meaghan Norvell is a physician assistant with Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital Medical Clinic – Sweet Home.

Visit to find the closest walk-in clinic in Benton, Lincoln and Linn counties. The Samaritan hospitals in Albany, Corvallis, Lebanon, Lincoln City and Newport offer emergency care 24/7.

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