FALLS CHURCH, Virginia --
Are you vaccinated and excited for summer sun, fun, and travel? You aren’t alone. While you get back out there to enjoy all the joys of summer, TRICARE encourages you to do your part to prevent health emergencies. And know that if you do need care this summer, you have options.
Take the time now to review safety tips and resources to help you enjoy your summer plans.
Take precautions in the sun, water
According to the American Cancer Society, “Most skin cancers are caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet rays.” This means you may be at greater risk for skin cancer if you get a lot of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays. If you spend time in the sun, you need to protect your skin. The American Cancer Society recommends you block UV rays with sunglasses, a hat, and clothing that covers your skin. Always use sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher, and avoid outside activities during peak sun hours.
TRICARE covers skin cancer exams for individuals with a family or personal history of skin cancer, increased occupational or recreational exposure to sunlight, or clinical evidence of precursor lesions. If you’re at a higher risk of developing skin cancer, talk to your provider. And learn how to take precautions when you’re spending time outdoors.
Water activities are a great way to cool off at the lake, beach, or pool. If your plans include swimming or boating, be aware that drownings are a leading cause of death for children and adults. So, take the time to learn about drowning prevention. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), parents and caregivers play a key role in preventing children from drowning.
Children should wear life jackets for all activities while in and around natural water. Weaker swimmers of all ages should wear a life jacket in and around natural water and swimming pools, according to the CDC. Remember that drowning is silent and swift, so avoid distractions like reading, looking at your phone, or drinking alcohol.
Get the care you need
If you or a family member needs health advice from a registered nurse this summer, you can use the Military Health System (MHS) Nurse Advice Line. If you’re in the U.S., Guam, or Puerto Rico, call 1-800-TRICARE (1-800-874-2273), then choose option 1. You can find all other country-specific phone numbers on the website. This is a convenient option, especially when you’re away from home, it’s after hours, or you don’t know if you need to see a doctor.
The MHS Nurse Advice Line is available 24/7 but isn’t for emergencies. If you reasonably think you have an emergency, always call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.
If you believe you have a non-emergency injury (like an ankle sprain or bug bite), then TRICARE may cover your urgent care needs. Check your region’s provider directory to find network urgent care centers near you. Not sure you know the difference between emergency and urgent care? TRICARE compares the two types of care here.
Find more summer safety tips from the Military Health System, including dealing with extreme heat. Now, get outdoors, have fun, and stay safe this summer. And remember, when you travel, TRICARE goes with you.