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Summer safety tips

Published on June 30, 2015

Summer safety tips

Mark Bonneville, MD
CentraCare Health – Monticello

Review safety tips for summer activities.As an emergency medicine physician, I often encounter accidents and injuries that could have been prevented if safety precautions were taken. These medical emergencies are unfortunate, but it is often more unfortunate to learn that some people were not even aware of simple safety tips to help protect themselves.

During the summer months while we are enjoying activities that the warmer weather brings, it is important to review simple safety tips. We don’t want to see what started as a fun activity end up as a medical emergency.

  • Tornado

Living in the Midwest, we are no strangers to severe weather, and that is why it is important to practice tornado drills with your family to ensure that everyone knows the safest place to be in the event of a strong storm or tornado.

  • Fire

Nothing says summer like grilling with family and friends. However, from 2004-2008 U.S. fire departments responded to approximately 7,700 home fires caused by grills and nearly 3,200 of those fires caused structural damages to homes. To ensure that your summer grilling is safe, it is important to have a fire extinguisher in your home, keep your eye on the grill when cooking and make sure that every member of your family knows the quickest and safest route to safety if a fire were to occur in your home.

  • Dehydration

Because the warm weather often makes us want to stay outdoors longer, it is important to remain hydrated in order to keep our bodies functioning properly. Signs of dehydration include dry mouth, excessive thirst, fatigue, dry skin, loss of appetite and head rushes.

  • Sunburns

Remember to apply an ounce of sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or above every two hours and make sure the sunscreen blocks both UVA and UVB rays. If you develop a sunburn with tender, swollen or blistering skin, or if you develop a fever, become dizzy or feel nauseous within 12 hours of your sunburn, you may need medical attention. Sunburn increases the long-term likelihood of developing skin cancer.

  • Heat Stroke

When a person’s body temperature is quickly elevated to dangerous levels, it can be fatal. Infants, athletes and the elderly are most at risk for heat stroke. Because heat stroke is a medical emergency, it is important to seek immediate help if you or someone you know experiences nausea, vomiting, weakness, headache, difficulty breathing, disorientation, seizures, absence of sweating and muscle cramps while outside. It is also important to remember that leaving children or pets in a car, even with the window cracked, is very dangerous and can lead to heat stroke and death.

  • Bike helmets

Every year, nearly 900 people die from injuries sustained in bicycle accidents and another 567,000 end up in hospital emergency rooms as a result of their injuries; 350,000 of those people are children under the age of 15. Always wear a helmet when on a bicycle.

  • Fireworks

As we approach the Fourth of July, many backyard barbecues involve celebrating the holiday with fireworks. In 2008, an estimated 7,000 people were treated in emergency departments for fireworks-related injuries such as burns and even blindness. When celebrating the upcoming holiday with fireworks, keep your family safe by leaving the displays to the professionals and never let children near fireworks.

  • Water safety

Enjoying water activities is a popular way to spend a beautiful summer day. Always wear a lifejacket when boating or canoeing. In addition, make sure that someone is always watching children when they are near water. Statistics show that most children drown at home. Young children can drown in only a couple of inches of water and that is why it is important for children to have supervision when enjoying the pool or beach. If you do suspect that someone is struggling in the water, call 911 immediately.

Please consider these important safety reminders this summer to ensure that you and your family will create fun-in-the-sun memories for years to come.

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About the Author

Mark Bonneville, MD

Mark Bonneville, MD
CentraCare Health – Monticello
Learn more about Dr. Bonneville

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