6 common warm weather hazards and how you can prevent them
The air is warm, the pool water is cool, and the days linger like an old friend. What’s not to love about summer?
Unfortunately, not all summer days are filled with sunshine and carefree vibes. As the temperatures start to climb, so do the number of injuries.
“As soon as the first lawn mowers start up, we brace ourselves for the summer trauma season,” says emergency medicine physician Marni Teramana, who practices at Kettering and Sycamore medical centers. “In the summer months we see an increase in emergency department visits.”
The good news is, most of these visits can be avoided. We’ve rounded up six of the most common reasons for summertime emergency visits and share how you can prevent them.
Sunburn is the most common type of burn in the summer months and occurs when your skin is unprotected and exposed to the sun for extended periods of time. Sunburn can result in reddened skin, pain, dehydration, fever, and even diarrhea. Children six months and older, along with adults, should use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 and reapply every two hours. Infants under six months of age should never be exposed directly to the sun. Avoid the sun during the peak daytime hours, and wear protective gear like hats, sunglasses, and appropriate clothing to shield from harmful rays.
Heat cramps, exhaustion, and stroke
These three heat-related conditions are caused when the body overheats and is unable to cool itself down. Symptoms to watch for include excessive thirst, heavy sweating, rapid pulse, cool skin with goosebumps while in the heat, muscle cramps, dizziness, nausea, headache, and the inability to think clearly. If you begin to experience any of these symptoms, stop activity and move to a cooler place to rest. Drink cool water and sports drinks to rehydrate. If your symptoms worsen, seek medical attention immediately.
Dangers of The Great Outdoors
No, we’re not talking about bears. Other elements that you might run into while hiking or camping like mosquitos, spiders, ticks, poison oak, ivy, and sumac, and splinters can put a real damper on your day. Be prepared with bug sprays, long clothing, and keep an eye out where you’re walking.
Two to three children die daily as a result of an accidental drowning, which can occur in a matter of seconds. Teaching children how to swim is important and swim lessons are a great summer activity. Children should also wear age-appropriate, U.S. Coast Guard approved floatation devices. Enforce a no-running rule around the pool to prevent falls and designate an adult to be watching children at all times. Educate your family to not dive headfirst into bodies of water. An alarming number of spinal cord injuries occur from diving into too shallow of water. Finally, knowing CPR can save lives. Sign up for a certification class.
Lawn mower accidents
The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates 17,000 children are hurt by lawn mowers annually and the Consumer Product Safety Commission reports more than 80,000 emergency department visits because of lawn mower injuries each year. To prevent injuries, clear your yard of sticks and rocks before mowing, wear long pants and hard-toed shoes, and keep children and pets inside while you are mowing.
It’s also important to make sure you’re healthy enough for the chore, especially if you’re using a push-mower. “Mowing can be a strenuous activity,” Dr. Teramana says. “Be aware of your body’s limitations and don’t over-exert yourself, especially in high humidity and elevated temperatures. This can put a dangerous strain on your heart and lead to heart attacks. Keep yourself hydrated and take frequent breaks.”
Cook-outs and block parties are some of the fondest memories we all have of summer. Unfortunately, they are also a prime spot to pick up a foodborne illness. High temperatures mixed with food left out of refrigeration are a dangerous combination. Keep foods on ice or refrigerated and be especially aware of products containing mayonnaise, eggs, milk, poultry, seafood, and meat.
Join the Fun
Visit our Emergency Department booth the Americana Festival to learn more ways to keep your family safe this summer, or just print off this safety kit as a reminder.