As you head out for summer break, practice these safety tips to avoid common summer bummers.

Beat the Heat: Once summer hits, the South Florida heat is on—big time! Take steps to protect yourself:

• Stay hydrated: Take frequent water breaks. Avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol, which actually dehydrate your body, particularly when you’re out in the heat.
• Protect yourself from the blazing sun: Apply sunscreen, wear a hat and protect your eyes. Even on a cloudy day, UV rays can cause harm.
• Avoid the midday sun. The sun is particularly potent from noon until 3 p.m., so try to limit your exposure during this period.
• Never leave kids or pets unattended in a vehicle.

Bug off: ‘Tis the season of bug bites and bee stings. To keep those pesky critters away:

• Opt for fragrance-free beauty products.
• Avoid combination sunscreen/insect repellent products. Sunscreen needs to be reapplied every two hours, but the insect repellent should not be reapplied.
• Look before you sip: Insects love sweet beverages, so check your cup or glass before drinking. Cover all food and beverage containers when not consuming.
• Dress down: Wear light colored (tan or white) clothing, preferably long sleeves and pants as well as socks outdoors.
• Go barefoot at your own risk: Bees hover around low-growing clover and yellow jackets live in the ground. Wear shoes on grassy fields or lawns.
• Watch out for hives and nests: Insects tend to build hives in nooks and crannies, like under a gutter or in the crook of a tree branch. Clean, garden, clip and mow with caution!
• Remain calm: Avoid sudden movements and don’t “shoo” away bugs. Just move slowly and calmly out of the insect’s way.

But, if you do get bitten or stung:
• Remove the stinger by scraping it with a credit card or your fingernail. The longer a stinger is left in, the more venom the wound will receive.
• Apply cold compress to affected area.
• If symptoms worsen beyond swelling and itching, get immediate medical attention.
• If you are allergic, always carry an Epi-Pen and Benadryl with you.

Lightning strikes: Thunderstorms fire up during the heat of summer and especially in Florida, the lightening capital of the world!

What to know and do …
• NO PLACE outside is safe when thunderstorms are in the area!
• If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you.
• When you hear thunder, immediately move to safe shelter—a substantial building with electricity or plumbing or an enclosed, metal-topped vehicle with windows up.
• Stay in safe shelter at least 30 minutes after you hear the last sound of thunder.

If you find yourself outside with no safe shelter nearby …
• Immediately leave elevated areas such as hills, mountain ridges or peaks.
• Never lie flat on the ground.
• Never shelter under a tree, a cliff or a rocky overhang.
• Immediately get out and away from ponds, lakes and other bodies of water.
• Stay away from objects that conduct electricity (barbed wire fences, power lines, etc.).

Have a great summer and stay safe!