Heeding some basic safety tips this summer could help to keep you, your family, and your friends out of the emergency room and in the fun zone this summer. Our local emergency doctors have seen or heard it all and eagerly share the following valuable tips.
Want some fresh air? Don’t push on the glass when opening windows. Terrible hand and forearm lacerations occur from this mistake. If there are children under age 10 in the house, install window guards. It takes but a moment for a young child to fall out of an open window.
If you work or play in the dirt, be sure your tetanus immunization is up to date. The deadly bacterium Clostridium tetani lives in soil, and it can enter the body through even a small cut or splinter. Children require a vaccine series called DTaP, and adults need a booster every 10 years.
When you mow the lawn, first clear it of sticks and stones that can become flying missiles; wear goggles, and work crosswise on sloped terrain. (We all know these rules, but do we follow them?)
Do-it-yourselfers should heed basic safety measures, like wearing protective gear when shearing hedges, cutting wood, scraping or spraying paint, or installing insulation.
Hiking, a summer favorite, is no fun if you get lost in the woods. Try to stick to blazed trails. Turn around every so often to identify landmarks that may help guide you back. Let people know where you are going and when you’re likely to return. If you do get lost or caught in a storm, it may be best to stay put in a place where you might be found. Try to hike with someone, and take plenty of water, sunscreen, an extra layer of clothing, a compass, knife and some nonperishable food.
Barefooting-it. Although it’s tempting to go barefoot when temperatures rise, it's a good way to injure a foot, even indoors. Our doctors have treated several broken toes suffered during a barefoot trip to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Wear swim shoes around pools and in public showers to reduce the risk of athlete’s foot. On a beach, they can prevent injuries from hidden sharp objects and keep feet comfortable on hot sand.
When camping, remember to shake out your shoes every morning in case a nasty spider took refuge in them. Never go to sleep with a campfire still burning. Douse it. Do not keep food inside the tent or hang it in a tree; put it in a car away from sleeping campers.
Don’t swim alone. Use the buddy system. Children should be watched closely at all times in and around water. Pools should be protected by a fence and safety gate that a young child cannot open.
Never dive into unknown waters or swim in areas designated off limits. Teenage boys are especially vulnerable to risk-taking and ignoring warning signs. More than one has been crippled or killed by diving headfirst into a hidden obstacle.
These are all safety tips we've heard before but often don't follow. Let's keep the emergency rooms empty this summer and let's all stay in the fun zone!