Peak summer temperatures tend to hit women and children harder than men; their smaller bodies usually heat up faster. Women have an additional challenge to overcome — they tend to sweat more, and as a result, dehydrate more quickly than men.
However, the heat of summer also puts men at risk, particularly of heatstroke. Hospital emergency departments see some of their busiest days in July and August. As a man heading into the dog days of summer, you need a few tips to keep safe.
If you’re training, be very careful
It’s one thing to keep the dangers of heatstroke in mind, and another to put your knowledge into practice. You might find it hard to be cautious, for instance, if you are an athlete who needs to train hard for a sport. Opting to stay safely out of the sun can put you at risk of appearing unmanly among less-cautious team members. Many male athletes would rather push themselves to the limit, risking dehydration, injuries, and even death. Personal injury lawsuits abound in summer when the athletically oriented are pushed to train hard. It’s important to understand how dehydration works on those training in summer, and how to keep yourself properly hydrated.
You don’t even need to train out in the sun to get badly burned. A couple of days at the beach can have the same effect. Older men account for 2 out of 3 deaths by heatstroke.
On beaches, men are more vulnerable to the sun than are women. Women easily find swimsuits that cover a large part of the body. Men’s swimsuits cover little.
Construction workers who work in the sun, white-collar workers with window desks, and drivers in cars with sunroofs all face possible skin damage. The hazards are everywhere, and the fact that men do not often use skincare products puts them at even greater risk.
It isn’t the fear of burned skin alone that should get when you to stay out of the sun. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, men live with a far higher level of risk of skin cancer than women; 3 out of 5 people who seek treatment for melanoma are men in their 50s. UV protection is vital, so it’s important to both use sunscreen and wear protective clothing.
Risks from cookouts and picnics
Taking up post at the grill is something men gladly do in most homes. This makes grill injuries common among men. From lighter fluid explosions to propane tank leaks and grill burns, chances of injury abound. It’s important to pay careful attention to grill and fuel supply maintenance, and to keep the hands gloved at all times.
There is a related risk involved in summer picnics and barbecues that many don’t think about: food poisoning. It’s easy to overlook how quickly food can spoil in the heat of summer. Food that has been out for two or more hours can become contaminated. Everyone should be mindful of food refrigeration both leading up to a picnic and afterwards.
There is the testosterone boost
Men tend to be more engaged when it comes to watching sports, and it can be a good thing. Research findings report that watching sports often leads to a testosterone boost, which might make for some great fun in bed afterwards. Research by Duke University, however, finds that such boosts to testosterone levels often lead to a tendency toward violence. It’s important to be mentally on guard against the effect.
Be extra careful around summer tasks
Whether it’s doing yard work, cleaning rain gutters, setting up Fourth of July fireworks, or getting the boat ready, chores around the house routinely handled by men are fraught with risk. While mowers, chainsaws, and boats can cause injury with their sharp, high-powered blades, accidents involving consumer fireworks (which are legal in most states) usually come from careless storage or improper use.
Any one of the aforementioned activities can be taken up safely by taking care to avoid injury. In many of these cases, protective clothing, eyewear, and other gear can go a long way toward injury prevention. It all begins with admitting how risk of injury is not to be taken lightly.
Erma Casey writes on men’s health topics for a selection of lifestyle and health blogs. She is newly married to her childhood sweetheart and enjoys long walks with their 2 dogs along the beach.