Summertime fun comes with bunch of warnings

Summertime warnings abound to ensure it remains a safe and fun time.

Beware the potentially lethal paralytic shellfish poisoning - warnings are still in place in the Bay of Plenty and the west coast from Taranaki as far as Maunganui Bluff, north of Dargaville, including all harbours in between.

Symptoms after eating toxic shellfish include nausea, numbness around the throat and mouth, dizziness and, in the worst cases, paralysis. Anyone suffering these effects should seek immediate medical attention.

Other warnings relating to being safe beside the seaside include not swimming in water that might be contaminated. People are advised to wait 48 hours before swimming after heavy rain, and avoid swimming near drains or sewage outfall pipes.

They should not swim in any water that is cloudy or smells bad, and the general rule is that if they can't see their feet, people should not put their head under the surface.

At surf beaches or anywhere there are flags, people should swim between the flags and keep small children within arm's reach.

Enjoying the sun carries the danger of sunburn. Melanoma remains a hungry killer in New Zealand, which has the highest rates of melanoma and skin cancer in the world.

Covering up should include sunblock, light clothing, hats and sunglasses, and keeping to the shade rather than full sun between the danger hours of 11am and 4pm. Sunscreen of SPF 30+ strength should be applied at least 20 minutes before going in the sun and reapplied every two hours and after swimming.

With an increased risk of food poisoning during warmer weather, good hand hygiene and careful food preparation is important.

The "four Cs" of food safety are clean, cook, cover and chill. Hands should be well washed and dried before and after preparing food and food must be cooked well, especially chicken, and chilled.

As for summer's party mood, non-alcohol and low-alcohol drink options should always be available, and food on offer with alcohol.

In northern New Zealand, swimmers - particularly children playing in the shallows - sometimes get itchy, red rashes caused by stings from jellyfish.

The rash can vary from mild to severe and last for a week or more. Calamine lotion, antihistamines and mild steroid creams may be helpful but medical attention is advised in severe cases or where the cause is in doubt.

- Northern Advocate

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