How to survive summer vacation

June 28, 2012

By Christina Corrales-Toy

The summer months have arrived.

School is out, the anticipation of summer weather is almost too much to bear, and now you’re ready to head outdoors and enjoy it.

But wait! Before you head out the door, there are summer hazards to be aware of and ways to make sure you stay safe.

Water hazards

As the sun emerges and the temperatures rise, a nice dip in Lake Sammamish seems quite enticing. But before you whip out your bathing suit, slather on your sunscreen and grab that inner tube, make sure you know the important stuff. Last year, there were 18 drowning deaths in King County, according to Tony Gomez, manager of violence and injury prevention for Public Health – Seattle & King County.

Because of lingering cold weather, when it finally does warm up, rivers and streams may flow at a temperature of 35 degrees. Water that cold can be deadly.

“Water that is that cold causes a person to become disabled in a matter of seconds, then rescue is just about impossible because of the dangerous, deep and cold conditions,” Gomez said.

So, for now, he recommends satisfying your water needs by visiting lifeguarded swimming pools, such as Issaquah’s Julius Boehm Pool, just until the water warms up later in the summer.

If you do decide to venture into cool waters, it is vital to wear a life jacket.

“Life jackets aren’t guaranteed to save lives in every situation, but they’re pretty darn effective in preventing drowning deaths,” Gomez said.

Biking accidents

As roads dry and the sun emerges, a great way to enjoy Issaquah, get around and get some exercise is to hop on a bike.

As more people ride bikes in summer, Gomez wants to remind people of the importance of wearing a helmet. Not only can it prevent serious injury, but it’s also the law in King County.

“When you wear a helmet, a helmet prevents brain or head injury anywhere from 65 to 85 percent of the time,” said Tony Gomez, manager of violence and injury prevention for Public Health – Seattle & King County.

Gomez also reminds drivers to give bicyclists plenty of room. Be patient and only pass when it is safe.

“If drivers would take just a few seconds to plan a safe pass around bicyclists, it works better for everybody,” he said.

Hiking mishaps

Issaquah is full of scenic trails and family-friendly walks. What better time to visit your favorite hiking trail than summertime?

Hiking is a great way to enjoy all that the picturesque Northwest has to offer and get exercise at the same time. But as more people enjoy hiking in the summer, it is important to remember to stay prepared for any dangers, according to Matt Mechler, the open space steward for the Issaquah Parks & Recreation Department.

It’s important for people to remember to bring basic essentials on a hike. Nutrition, water and sun protection are especially important on warm summer days. As always, remember to bring some sort of insulation, navigation, first aid, illumination and emergency shelter just in case a hiker gets lost. Mechler also suggests telling a friend or family member where you are going to hike and when you plan to be back.

“Making sure people are prepared when they go out hiking is the main thing,” he said. “Be prepared for the conditions you’re going out in, be it the weather or the trails.”


After a long day outside enjoying the summer weather, there’s nothing more annoying than discovering those red, itchy bumps all over your arms and legs. The mosquitoes have triumphed yet again.

Not only are mosquitoes a general nuisance, but they may also carry dangerous diseases such as West Nile virus, according to Sharon Hopkins, the veterinarian for Public Health – Seattle & King County.

One of the best ways to combat mosquitoes during summer is to control sources of mosquito breeding. Mosquitoes breed in standing water. So in places where water does not circulate, such as standing water on a rooftop, gutters or on top of a pool cover, residents should dump the liquid.

Mosquitoes are generally worst during the evening. Hopkins suggests wearing long sleeves and long pants, exposing the least amount of skin as possible, when going outside at night. Mosquito repellant is also a good idea.

To keep the critters out of your house, Hopkins advises everyone to keep screens on their windows.

Bear encounters

Hiking is all good and fun, but what happens if you stumble upon a bear? A bear sighting is not an uncommon occurrence in the Issaquah area. There aren’t necessarily more bears during the summer, but as people spend more time outdoors, the animal’s presence is more noticeable.

People have seen bears while hiking the trails near Tradition Lake, in town near the Rainier Trail and even in an occasional backyard.

The good thing is that bears usually try to avoid people. Furthermore, black bears, the kind found in Issaquah, are not normally aggressive. Still, Matt Mechler, the open space steward for the Issaquah Parks & Recreation Department, says there are simple steps that people can take to ensure safety during a bear encounter.

It should go without saying, but do not approach the bear, especially if there are cubs nearby. Mechler says it’s important to leave the bear an escape route and give it plenty of space. Also, be sure to stay calm and identify yourself as a human by standing, waving your hands above your head or by talking. Taking these steps should ensure that the bear will leave you alone.

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One Response to “How to survive summer vacation”

  1. Georgia B Johnson on January 26th, 2013 2:48 pm

    My husband and i just moved here from the tri-cities, washington (Richland, Kennewick, pasco). Living near the Columbia and Snake Rivers, we are very conscious of mosquitos. I’ve notice lots of creeks–rivers–water everywhere in Issaquah and wondered if there was a large issue with mosquitos here and if there is a local Mosquito Control Board as well.

    Thank you.


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