Memorial Day safety: How to stay safe around the water this holiday weekend

Experience AZ | 22 May |

As more people look to get out of the house this Memorial Day weekend, Banner Health safety experts strongly suggest they practice social distancing as well as water-safety precautions during the upcoming three-day weekend.

“Now is really the time for extra caution out there. There is a lot going on. We need to practice social distancing and we still need to be focused on being safe around water,’’ said Tracey Fejt, trauma-prevention coordinator for Banner Health. (Fejt is pronounced “fate’’).

Banner recommends following these COVID-19 precautions:

• Wear a mask when you’re in public near others.

• Stay six feet away from others.

• Wash your hands frequently.

• Wipe down surfaces that may be infected.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also suggests that people involved in water sports not share goggles, nose clips, snorkels and other personal items. The CDC also advises those wearing face coverings not to wear them in the water since they can be difficult to breathe through when they’re wet.

In addition to COIVD-19 precautions, people need to take care to avoid other common lake traumas and accidents, Fejt says.

“We see a lot at the lake but the worse thing we see is drowning and that is preventable and so we really need to have people in life jackets.’’

Even strong swimmers need the protective jackets, she said.

“Just because you know how to swim, it doesn’t make you ‘drown-proof’. Good swimmers can drown because they exert themselves further than they can go and can’t get themselves back.’’

Swimmers can get injured in boat or jet ski collisions or be overcome by carbon monoxide from boats or their legs can cramp because of dehydration caused by not drinking enough water.

“If you are in the water, you are not thinking about drinking water, but you are not having that water around you absorbed into you,’’ Fejt says.

“Alcohol is not hydration. It dehydrates you.’’

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