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Health Risks to Avoid

Lightning activity at its peak now.
 
Chances of being struck this month and next are higher than usual.

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EXPECT rainy days from now till January as the Northeast Monsoon is setting in. During the rainy spell, season, periods of moderate to heavy rain with thunder are expected to affect Singapore, with high tides ranging from 3 to 3.2m, said the National Environment Agency's (NEA) Meteorological Services Division in an update on Monday.
 
NEA also warned that heavy rain coinciding with high tides could lead to localised flash floods in the low-lying areas such as Lorong Buangkok, Jalan Seaview, Meyer Road, Lorong 101 - Lorong 106 Changi and Everitt North Road. Motorists travelling along roads in these areas are advised to exercise caution if there are flash floods.

A lightning storm is Mother Nature's electrical power. It is responsible for more deaths per year than tornadoes. Know when there is severe weather approaching your area. Even if the lightning storm is not right over you, lightning bolts travel miles out from the base of the lightning storm. You will not be able to dodge a lightning strike but you should know what to avoid, and how to be prepared, when there is severe weather.
 
Once you hear thunder, it is time to find shelter to avoid the danger of lightning storms. Lightning is not far behind.It is just not in your sight yet. Lightning mostly strikes the ground, but if it hits humans, it can kill with an average of 200,000 amps of electricity - enough to power half a million 100-watt light bulbs.
 
Don’t run under a tree or even under an overhanging rock. These are not safe places to hide from lightning. Lightning will strike the tallest points. Stay away from anything metal. Do not stay in the open, like the tennis courts for example, this will make you a target for lightning.
 
A GOLFER was struck by lightning at the Tanah Merah Country Club on Sunday morning(Oct 25,09), just as he neared the end of an 18-hole game.

The skies had only just turned a little dark and the club had contacted the Meteorological Services to check whether lightning was likely when the 57-year-old was hit.

live weather radar

If you’re outdoors in the water and it gets stormy, to avoid lightning, it’s time to get out. It’s never safe to stay in water. Don’t even stay on the beach or by the lake. If you cannot get to your home, you will be safe in your car. If you are out in a boat, you should get to land as soon as possible. If your camping, the tent is not a good place to stay because of the metal poles.
 
Be ready to go inside when a storm is brewing. Don’t use electrical appliances until after the storm is over. Don’t go near the windows or doors in your house until after the storm. Do not come in contact with water or run machines that use water, if you want to avoid the dangers of lightning storms.

Fitness - Preventing Injury and Illness

Physical activity is good for your health, but it can stress and strain your body if not done right. If it's done too suddenly or without basic precautions, exercise can lead to injury or illness.

Even if you have long been active and are fit, keep safety in mind. Do not assume that basic precautions do not apply to you.

playing in the heat

The most important ways to avoid injury and illness are to:

  • Learn about the risks of any new activity you begin. Take lessons, if appropriate.
  • Wear clothing that is right for your activity, including shoes that have good support for your feet.
  • Always use the safety gear that is recommended for your chosen activity, such as helmets and knee pads. Learn about the use and proper fit of safety equipment.
  • Begin an exercise routine slowly and gradually increase intensity.
  • Pay attention to your body's signals, such as pain and fatigue, when starting a new activity or when increasing the intensity of your physical activity. General muscle soreness is common when you try a new activity, but pain can mean you're injured. If you are very tired, you may be doing too much too soon.

Health Risks to Avoid at the Gym
 
How to avoid injury, infection, and other health risks at the gym.

Risk: Falls

Jumping, running, and moving around various objects in the gym can increase your risk of tripping and falling. 

Avoiding the Risk

Be aware of your surroundings, McMillan cautions. Watch for items that you might trip over -- such as a water bottle, hand weight, piece of equipment, sweatshirt, or even a loose set of keys -- and move them to a safer location. Be especially careful in wet areas around showers, pools, and hot tubs, where you're even more likely to slip and fall. 

Risk: Sprains and Strains

Trying to lift too much weight, using poor technique, overdoing your workouts, and stretching incorrectly can lead to sprains and strains.

Avoiding the Risk

If you are questioning whether you can safely complete a movement, drill, or exercise, it's probably best to back off in order to ensure you don't push too hard and injure yourself, McMillan says.

Her advice: If something doesn't feel right, stop what you're doing immediately, ask for ice, elevate and rest the injured body part, and apply compression to minimize swelling. Tell a gym staff person exactly what happened and document everything, McMillan advises. 

"Even if you're feeling OK, it's always best to call a family member to come and get you," McMillan says. "Sometimes the adrenaline kicks in and you don't realize how injured you really are until later. During this time, you could do even more damage."

Risk: Infections

Germs and bacteria are found everywhere, including gyms. The last thing you want when you're trying to be healthy is to get sick because of your health club.

Fungi, bacteria, and viruses are common in wet areas such as showers and swimming pool decks, Pire says. Sweat left to dry on equipment is also a breeding ground for bacteria.

Bacteria can also thrive on used towels on locker room floors, weights, sweaty cardio machines, and benches that members sit on between workouts, says Matt Carlen, director of LifeBridge Health and Fitness in Baltimore.

Avoiding the Risk

If your gym has a swimming pool or hot tub, ask the staff how often they are cleaned and how often the chemical balance is checked, suggests Henry Williford, EdD, FACSM, professor of physical education and exercise science at Auburn University and a spokesman for the American College of Sports Medicine.

Pire recommends wearing "shower shoes" or flip-flops to help minimize your chances of getting athlete's foot, toenail fungus, and viral or bacterial infections.

Wash your hands frequently, wipe down the equipment before and after you work out, and sit on a towel when in the sauna or on benches, McMillan says.

All gyms should have an automatic sanitizer dispenser, Carlen says. "Make sure you use it as much as you can," he says. (It doesn't hurt to bring your own hand sanitizer with you, as well.) With cold and flu season upon us, if you're sick with a cold or flu, stay home until you've been free of fever for at least a day, so you don't spread your germs.

Once you know the risks of working out and how to avoid them, you can get back to doing what you came to the gym for in the first place -- staying healthy.