Summer in Colorado offers a multitude of opportunities to get outside, exercise, enjoy the natural beauty of our state, and have fun with friends and family. To make the most of these times and experiences, consider your health and safety as you venture out.
Colorado weather can be extreme, not only in winter but in summer as well. Summer comes with stifling heat, high levels of UV exposure, fast water, rapidly developing storms, lightning, and of course, low levels of humidity. To enjoy the summer in harmony with these conditions, be in the know and be prepared.
Do your homework and plan ahead.
- Know your level of fitness and what activities you’re ready for.
- Do warm up and stretching exercises before you venture out.
- Plan activities such as hikes, golf games, and boating to start early in the day and finish up ahead of afternoon storms.
- Know the conditions of rivers and trails and heed warnings and restrictions.
- Wear appropriate shoes and clothing for your activity.
- Learn about wildlife you may encounter on your adventures. Know the best ways to enjoy the area without disrupting their environment – keeping both you and the wildlife safe, healthy and stress free.
- Know the weather forecast.
- If you are out in the afternoon avoid high spots, bodies of water, and open or exposed areas where lightning is a greater risk.
- Lightning strikes are the #1 cause of death, related to outdoor activities in Colorado. Check out these lightning safety tips from the Centers for Disease Control.
- Be prepared for changing conditions with appropriate gear, clothing and rations.
Drink, drink, drink – and eat!
- Hydrate well before starting outdoor activities. Take along plenty of water and drink regularly, whether or not you’re thirsty.
- Drink plenty of water when you’re on the road. Dehydration is the primary reason driver’s fall asleep.
- When hiking, especially at altitude, take along snacks and don’t go for long periods without food to help prevent altitude sickness.
Beat the heat and subvert the sizzle.
- Know the warning signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and life-threatening heat stroke – a true emergency – as well as first aid and preventive measures. These serious, heat-related conditions can sneak up on you without warning.
- Wear sunglasses.
- Wear sunscreen.
- Use of alcohol and certain medications may increase risks of susceptibility to heat and sun.
Don’t forget your PETS! They are as vulnerable or more so to the same risks we are, and more.
- No matter how much you’d like to have them with you, leave pets at home when temps are high, there’s a risk of storms, or conditions are questionable. They will thank you for it and will love the walks and play you share with them that don’t put them at risk.
- Never leave an animal in a car. Temperatures can soar in a matter of minutes, even with windows down. Animals can suffer brain damage or die quickly.
- Always provide plenty of cool, fresh water, whether at home or on an outing.
- Dogs, especially, may mask symptoms due to their stoic nature so pay attention and don’t discount even minor symptoms your furry family member may exhibit.
- Check out additional summer safety tips for pets from the ASPCA.
We are blessed to live in Colorado where recreational opportunities abound in magnificent settings. Taking a little time to learn and prepare can help us make the most of our adventures. In addition to taking care of yourself, please be aware of those who may be at greater risk or less likely to recognize that they are in distress – older adults, young children, people who have cardiovascular disease, are obese, born with an impaired ability to sweat, or have physical or cognitive disabilities. Now – get outside, have fun, and enjoy your summer!!