To help you stay safe this summer, we've highlighted nine common dangers and how to avoid them.
The Sun1 of 10
Before you head out the door, make sure you are wearing sunscreen. Ultraviolet rays from the sun increase your risk of skin cancer, which can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender or race, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
Are clouds hiding the sun? It doesn't matter. Up to 80 percent of the sun's harmful UV rays can penetrate your skin, even if it's cloudy, experts say.
And if you are planning to run on a beach or near water, know that sand and water reflect the sun's rays so you might need to apply sunscreen more frequently.
Use sunscreen that is water-resistant and protects you from both UVA and UVB rays. It should also have an SPF of 30 or higher. Read product labels to make sure the product you choose meets these requirements.
About 15 minutes before going outside, you should "generously coat all skin that will not be covered by clothing," including your ears and hands, the Academy says. Follow the product instructions for how frequently you should re-apply it.
The Heat2 of 10
As the temperature and humidity rises, so does your risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
In the first stage of heat illness, you might get cramps in your legs or abdomen, sweat more than usual and feel very tired and thirsty, according to the National Institutes of Health.
As your body gets more overheated, you might develop dark urine and feel dizzy, weak and nauseous. Left untreated, heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke, a potentially fatal condition.
Symptoms of heat stroke include a body temperature of 104 degrees or higher, extreme confusion, irrational behavior, dry, hot or red skin, seizures and loss of consciousness.
Heat-related illnesses commonly occur during intense physical activity. Stay in the shade, if possible, and wear loose, light-colored clothing.
If you are racing or running a hard workout on a hot day, drink plenty of fluids before, during and after. Experts recommend drinking a beverage with electrolytes, in addition to water, to replace the sodium you lose when you sweat.
The American Council on Exercise recommends drinking 17 to 20 ounces of water a few hours before exercise and 7 to 10 ounces every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise. You should be guzzling at least 8 ounces of fluid within 30 minutes after your workout.
Just be careful about drinking too much water--which can dilute the sodium content in your blood and lead to a condition called hypnotremia. This can cause symptoms similar to heat-related illnesses. Acute hyponotremia, when sodium levels drop rapidly, can be fatal.
Thunderstorms3 of 10
Each year in the United States, 30 people are killed by lightning and 270 more are injured, according to the National Weather Service. Most of these occur during the summer months when people are caught outside in the afternoon or evening, experts say.
Although your chances of being struck by lightning are slim, you shouldn't dismiss the danger of a thunderstorm. Severe storms can also produce high winds, large hail and, in some cases, a tornado.
Pay attention to weather alerts before you hit the road. If you are running and a storm is brewing, don't ignore it. If you can't get inside when the thunderstorm arrives, find shelter in a low area under a thick growth of small trees, experts say.
Avoid tall, isolated trees and hilltops.
If you're in an open area, seek protection in a ravine or valley and be aware of flash floods.
Poison Ivy/Oak/Sumac4 of 10
If you plan to explore wooded trails this summer, be on the lookout for poison ivy, oak and sumac, which are notorious for causing nasty and very annoying rashes.
To see what these pesky plants look like, check out these photos provided by the American Academy of Dermatology. Avoid areas where these plants are known to flourish and stay on cleared paths.
For some people, it doesn't take much contact with poison ivy, oak or sumac to develop a reaction, which is caused by an oily resin called urushiol. If you've trampled through an area that probably has these plants, it's important to wash your hands and body within 30 minutes of contact to reduce your chances of a rash. The rash usually appears in a straight line, where the plant and its oil brushed up against your skin, according to the Mayo Clinic.
If the oil gets on your clothes and hands and you touch other parts of your body, such as your face and genitals, you can develop a rash in those places, too. The oil can also get on your dog's fur and spread that way, so make sure you give your running buddy a bath if you suspect exposure.
The good news is you can't pass the rash on to other people, and it usually clears up on its own in a couple weeks. You can use over-the-counter anti-itch creams to soothe inflammation and/or take an oral histamine, the Mayo Clinic says.
For a severe rash or one that becomes infected, make sure to visit a doctor.
Dogs5 of 10
The dog days of summer are quite literally filled with lots of dogs out and about. As a runner, you should always take canine encounters seriously, regardless of how cute and friendly a dog might seem.
"No one knows how a dog will act or react in a particular situation," says Caryl Wolff, a certified dog trainer and dog behavior consultant in Los Angeles, Calif. "Even the most well-trained dogs can become fearful and/or aggressive, depending on the circumstances. Be prepared and expect the unexpected."
If you are running towards a dog and its owner, cross the street. If you can't do that, make sure to give them plenty of room.
"Rather than approaching what the dog perceives as head on, give them a wide berth of at least five feet," Wolff says. "Proper dog etiquette is to approach in a big arc rather going in a straight line, which shows aggressive intent."
Slow down and pass on the opposite side of the path. So if the dog is on the right, pass on the left. Don't make direct eye contact with the dog, but keep an eye on it. Also, pay attention to what the owner is doing. If the owner talking on the phone, for example, use extra caution.
Notice whether the dog is on a short or extended leash. An extended leash makes it easier for the dog to lunge at you. If you are passing a dog on a path from behind, the same rules apply. Wolff also suggests announcing that you are passing on the left or right so the owner is aware. Slow down to a walk until you are about ten feet ahead.
Cyclists6 of 10
The battle for space between runners and cyclists tends to heat up during the summer as both groups flock to the same roads, trails and paths.
"Anytime there is shared use of a space with people traveling at different speeds, everyone needs to increase their awareness," says Lisa Orr, an etiquette expert, tells ACTIVE.
That means not playing music so loud in your ears that you can't hear what's going on around you, she says.
Cyclists should ride at a reduced speed near runners and ring a bell if they are approaching them to pass. Cyclists should pass runners on the left, and runners should make sure to stay to the right of the path.
IAnd if it's never OK acceptable for a runner to use a bike lane, even if it seems empty.
"There's no way for a runner to know that there isn't a cyclist seconds away," Orr says. "Then if that cyclist does encounter a runner on their path, they may not have enough time to stop or react."
The Road Runners Club of America says groups should not have more than two people running side-by-side on a trail or path.
If you are running an out-and-back route, keep in mind that you could collide with a cyclist or another runner if you make a sudden U-turn.
Stop, move to the right, and look for oncoming people before making your turn.
Traffic7 of 10
Vehicular traffic is always a major concern for runners, but especially during the summer, when more drivers are on the road for summer trips and activities. When you are running, rather than just walking, you have less time to react to situations, so it's critical to pay attention to your surroundings.
Start with leaving your earbuds and music at home. If you are distracted and can't hear, you can't react to an approaching vehicle.
If available, use crosswalks at intersections and wait for the pedestrian signal.
Run on the sidewalk, or if you choose the street, run facing traffic while staying on the far side of the road.
Don't assume a driver can see you and will give you the right of way. If you can, make eye contact with the driver of a stopped vehicle to make sure they see you before you cross the road.
Always carry identification and wear reflective clothing if you're running after dark.
Ticks8 of 10
These tiny, creepy crawlers, which are most active during warmer months, are scary because they can stealthily latch on to your skin and transmit a disease without you knowing.
Several types of disease-transmitting ticks are found across the United States. To know what they look like, check out these images provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The blacklegged tick populates the East Coast, Gulf Coast and parts of the upper Midwest. A bite from a blacklegged tick can cause Lyme Disease, anaplasmosis and babesiosis. Symptoms of Lyme Disease include its signature "bull's eye" rash at the site of the bite, fever, headache and fatigue.
The Rocky Mountain wood tick lives in the mountains of the western U.S. and southwestern Canada and causes Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which can be fatal if it's not properly treated with antibiotics.
Like Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever might be accompanied by a distinctive rash, which typically occurs as the illness progresses. The rash can start as pink spots throughout the body and then turn red or purple. Not everyone with the disease develops a rash, however. Other symptoms include fever, abdominal pain, loss of appetite and red eyes.
To avoid a tick bite, stay out of thick brush. If you do plan to be in a wooded area, wear insect repellent that contains 20 percent or more of DEET, picaridin or IR3535. Treat your clothes with a product that contains 0.5 percent permethrin.
When you come indoors, shower right away and use a mirror to check your body, including your hair, for ticks. If you traveled with your dog, check their fur. Put your clothes on high heat in the dryer for at 10 minutes to kill any ticks you might have carried home.
Mosquitoes9 of 10
Swatting at mosquitoes during your summer jog can sometimes feel more like the workout than the actual run.
Though mosquitoes are typically more annoying than dangerous, some are known to carry viruses such as chikungunya, West Nile and Zika.
Chikungunya was rare in the Americas until 2013, when the first locally-acquired cases popped up in the Caribbean.
In 2016, 2038 cases of West Nile infections in people in the U.S. were reported to the Centers for Diseases Control. Unlike other mosquito-borne diseases, most people infected with West Nile do not develop symptoms, but in some people the virus can cause inflammation of the brain and surrounding tissue, which is serious and life-threatening.
The Zika virus has affected vast areas of Central and South America, in addition to Africa and the Carribean. Local mosquitoes transmitting the disease have also been identified in parts of coastal Texas and Florida in the past year. Zika is considered to be the biggest threat to pregnant women, who, if infected, could give birth to babies with severe brain damage.
Whether you're running in your neighborhood or someplace abroad, you can protect yourself from mosquito bites by wearing repellent with an active ingredient of DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
Read the label to find out the percentage of the repellent. Higher percentages of that ingredient provide longer-lasting protection. For example, a product with 20 percent DEET should repel mosquitoes for a longer period than a product with 10 percent DEET.
Avoid running at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes tend to be most active and stay away from swampy areas or places with standing water, where mosquitoes gather to breed.