How to stay out of the ER this summer
Summer is a time to relax and enjoy the great outdoors, but a trip to the emergency room can quickly ruin summer fun. Visits to hospital emergency departments spike about 15% - 30% during the summer months, but these tips can help you avoid the need to head to the ER.
Here's how to stay safer this summer:
- Protect yourself from the heat. Summer heat increases the chance of dehydration, heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Stay hydrated by drinking at least 8 glasses (64 ounces) of water daily. If you're exercising intensely in the heat, replenish with a sports drink that also contains electrolytes. On very hot days, stay indoors in air conditioning, wear lightweight loose-fitting clothing, drink lots of fluids and limit strenuous activities.
- Use fireworks carefully. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 2015 was the worst year for fireworks injuries in over 15 years, with an estimated 11,900 people treated in hospital emergency rooms. About two-thirds of those injuries occurred within 30 days of July 4th. Even sparklers pose a danger, accounting for about 16% of reported fireworks injuries. The National Council of Fireworks Safety offers these safety tips when using fireworks: obey local fireworks laws, wear safety glasses, light only one at a time and keep a bucket of water nearby.
- Swim smart. Even if you're an experienced swimmer, make sure there's a lifeguard on duty before jumping in the water. When at the beach, pay attention to colored flags and know what the meaning of each color is. Never leave children unattended near water. Drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related death in children age 14 and younger.
- Avoid dangerous insects and plants. Apply an insect repellent and dress in light-colored clothes that cover your body if you're walking in grassy or wooded areas. Become familiar with the appearance of plants such as poison ivy, oak and sumac. Examine yourself, children and pets for ticks or rashes when you've been outside.