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Have a safe Fourth of July

June 30, 2020 | Andrea Wetherill, MSN, RN

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Many of us are probably looking forward to 4th of July celebrations this weekend. While celebrations probably will look different this year with coronavirus precautions, there is still lots of fun that can be had at home.

We want to make sure our community stays safe this week. Read these tips for participating in fun, Independence Day activities as safely as possible.

Fireworks

While it is illegal in Ohio to set off fireworks, there are other items such as smoke devices and sparklers that are sold many places and provide lots of summer fun. However, they can still be very dangerous. In 2017, 12,900 people suffered fireworks-related injuries.

Whether you are using sparklers or plan to be around fireworks, these tips can help you avoid burns or other injury:

  • Adults should always supervise fireworks activity and never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Take caution with sparklers. They are often viewed as “safe,” but they are the leading cause of fireworks-related ER visits. They burn at about 2,000 degrees and can catch on clothing causing serious burns.
  • Keep a bucket of water handy in case of fire.
  • If fireworks malfunction, do not relight them. Douse them with water and throw them away.
  • Never light fireworks in a container, especially one that is glass or metal.

Grill safety

Who doesn’t love a summer cookout? Nothing beats the smell of the grill cooking on a summer day. When not used properly, grills can be a fire hazard. According to the National Fire Protection Association, grills cause an average of 10 deaths per year, 160 injuries, and nearly $150 million in property damage.

If your holiday plans include a backyard barbeque, keep these precautions in mind:

  • Keep the grill well away from your home, deck railings, branches or overhangs, and other items or structures.
  • Open the grill before lighting.
  • Regularly clean your grill removing grease of fat buildup in the trays below your gas or propane grills so it cannot be ignited.
  • Keep pets and children away from the grill.
  • Avoid wearing loose clothing that could catch fire while grilling.

Pool safety

Swimming is a great way to cool down and have fun. But water can also pose serious dangers. According to the CDC, between 2005 and 2014 there were an average of around 3,500 fatal unintentional drownings annually not related to boating and an additional 332 boating-related drownings.

  • Pay close attention to children and less-experienced swimmers. Make sure they have coast-guard approved floatation devices if they are not able to swim on their own.
  • Designate someone to watch the water and do regularly head counts to make sure they can see everyone. This person should be paying close attention to the water and not be on their phone or distracted in other ways.
  • Never swim alone.
  • Swim sober.
  • Have a phone nearby so you can quickly call for help in case of emergency.
  • Do not swim beyond your abilities.
  • Leave the water immediately in case of thunder and lightning and stay out for at least 30 minute after the last thunder clap.

Hydration

Many people’s idea of the perfect Fourth of July includes sunshine and hot temperatures. If you’re not careful, these can lead to dehydration. Dehydration can cause serious complications such as heat injuries ranging from mild cramps to heat exhaustion or heatstroke.

Take these steps to stay hydrated as you enjoy your holiday weekend:

  • Drink plenty of water. It is recommended that you drink between six and eight cups of fluids a day.
  • Don’t skip meals as much of your fluids comes from your food. Additionally, you lose salt and electrolytes as you sweat and your food will help your body replace what you lose.
  • Drink before you feel thirsty. If you feel thirsty, you’re already behind in fluid replacement.
  • Make sure your children are getting enough fluids.
  • Dress in light, cool clothing. Dark colors will make you feel hotter and sweat more.
  • Avoid alcohol. Even though you may want to enjoy a beverage responsibly, alcohol is dehydrating so you should limit yourself and drink lots of water to make up for it.

About Andrea Wetherill

Andrea Wetherill, MSN, RN is the Trauma Program Manager for the Fisher-Titus/MetroHealth partnership.  Fisher-Titus is a Level III Trauma Center and a Level II Adult Cardiac Cath Lab. For more information, visit https://www.fishertitus.org/trauma-services.