Safety First This Summer
The summer holiday is a fun time to enjoy family and friends, but sometimes
in the excitement of the holiday, accidents can happen. No matter what
you’re facing, you can rely on CaroMont Health for quick, advanced,
compassionate emergency care 24 hours a day. Designated a Level III Trauma
Center, CaroMont Regional Medical Center’s is equipped to provide
care for a wide range of conditions, including trauma, medical, cardiac,
neurological, orthopaedic, pediatric and psychiatric emergencies.
Accidents resulting in unintentional injuries account for 130,557 emergency
visits each year according to the Centers for Disease Control. Heeding
some basic safety tips this summer could help to keep you and your loved
ones in vacation action and out of the emergency department. Follow the
tips listed below to help make sure that your summer holiday is a safe
and happy one:
Statistics show that more than 40 percent of fireworks-related injuries
are among children under the age of 14; this age group also has the least
developed physical coordination. When you put these two things together,
you get a recipe for disaster. Anthony Raspanti, MD, Trauma Medical Director
for CaroMont Health, says “fireworks can cause a wide range of injuries
from severe burns to blindness, so it’s important to understand
the dangers that come with the use of fireworks, and why it’s critical
to follow safety precautions put forth by fire and safety experts.”
- Do not allow children to play with fireworks.
- Do not allow children to pick up pieces of fireworks.
- Soak all fireworks in water before discarding them.
- Keep a bucket of water or garden hose handy in case of fire.
- Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that did not ignite properly.
- Point fireworks away from people and homes, and keep them away from brush
Outdoor Work and Play
Summertime and being outdoors go together, but if you work or play outside,
make sure your tetanus immunization is up to date. The deadly bacterium
Clostridium tetanus lives in soil and can enter the body through even
a small cut or splinter. Medical experts recommend adults get a tetanus
vaccination every 10 years. Children usually receive a series of four
doses of DTaP vaccine before two years of age, followed by a booster dose
at four to six years of age. After that, a booster (Tdap) is recommended
at 11 to 12 years of age, followed by a tetanus and diphtheria booster
every 10 years through adulthood.
Planning some yard work and gardening this summer? Wear appropriate protective
gear. Before you mow the grass, clear the lawn of sticks and stones that
can become flying objects and even better, wear goggles, sturdy shoes
and long pants while working outdoors. Gloves are important gear to lower
your risk for skin irritations, cuts and insect bites. And, don’t
forget about the sunscreen! Even if you’re only out for a short
time, you need to wear a sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher. For added protection,
wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
Monitor your activities and limit your time in the sun to lower your risk
for heat-related illness. Regardless of your activity level, drink plenty
of water to prevent heat illness. Try to avoid alcohol and sugary drinks
that can cause you to become dehydrated, especially in the heat. Know
and pay attention to signs of heat-related illness, including extremely
high body temperature, headache, rapid pulse, dizziness, nausea, confusion,
or unconsciousness, and keep a watch on those who are at a higher risk
for heat-related illness like infants, children and adults over 65.
First-Aid Kit for Small Emergencies
Keep a first-aid kit handy at home and even in your car. Make sure it
is stocked with bandages, gauze tape, hydrogen peroxide or iodine, burn
cream or spray, calamine lotion and tweezers. These items will be helpful
in the event of minor scrapes, burns, rashes or splinters.
Every day, about 10 people die from accidental drowning. Of these, two
are children aged 14 or younger. Drowning ranks fifth among the leading
causes of unintentional injury death in the United States.1 Avoid the risks that come with water and swimming.
- First and foremost, learn to swim. Formal swim lessons can help protect
you and your child from drowning, however, children require constant supervision
at all times in or near the water.
- Use the buddy system and never swim alone.
- Pools should be barricaded with a safety gate and fence and toys removed
immediately after use so children aren’t tempted to play unsupervised.
- Never dive into unknown waters or swim in areas deemed off limits.
- Avoid drinking alcohol before or during swimming, boating or water skiing.
Do not drink alcohol while supervising children.
If you’re in or around natural water settings:
- Use U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets.
- Check weather conditions before swimming or boating.
- Know and obey warning signs represented by colored beach flags.
It’s the season for picnics and cookouts, but eating outdoors in
warm weather can pose some food safety challenges.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for 15 to 20 seconds after visiting
the restroom and before cooking and eating. Consider carrying hand sanitizer
or hand wipes if you’re in an outdoor setting with no bathroom access.
- Keep raw food separate from cooked food. Before you re-use a plate that
has been exposed to raw meat, wash it in hot, soapy water or use another
plate altogether. Keep utensils and surfaces clean too.
Cook food thoroughly to kill any harmful bacteria and use a thermometer. There’s nothing better than a juicy hamburger, but make sure they
are brown all the way through and not pink. Generally, hamburgers should
be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees and chicken to at
least 165 degrees.
- Remember to refrigerate. Never leave food sitting out for more than two
hours or more than an hour in 90-degree temperatures.
- Keep it hot or cold. Hot food should be kept at or below 40 degrees and
should be eaten within two hours of cooking or purchase. Foods like chicken
salad or cold desserts should be held at 40 degrees. If you’re outside,
place foods on ice and replace it as it melts.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury
Prevention and Control. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting
System (WISQARS) [online]. [cited 2012 May 3]. Available from: URL:
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Barbeque Basics: Tips to Prevent Foodborne
Illness. [online]. [cited 2014 July]. Available from: URL: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm094562.htm.