The air is warm, the pool water is cool and the days linger like an old friend.
Unfortunately, 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, DO, who practices at Kettering and Sycamore medical centers. “In the summer months we see an increase in ER visits.”
The good news is, most of these visits can be avoided. We’ve rounded up four of the most common reasons for summertime emergency visits and share how you can prevent them.
Sunburn occurs when your skin is unprotected and exposed to the sun for extended periods of time. Children six months and older, along with adults, should use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and reapply every two hours. Infants under six months of age should never be exposed directly to the sun. Wear protective gear like hats, sunglasses, and appropriate clothing to block harmful rays.
2. Heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke
These three heat-related conditions are caused when the body overheats and is unable to cool itself down. Symptoms 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.
3. Swimming injuries
Teaching children how to swim is important and swim lessons are a great summer activity. Children should 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.
4. 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.
“Be aware of your body’s limitations and don’t over-exert yourself, especially in high humidity and elevated temperatures,” Dr. Teramana says. “This can put a dangerous strain on your heart and lead to heart attacks. Keep yourself hydrated and take frequent breaks.”