The warmer weather of Spring reminds us that Summer is just around the corner! While Spring and Summer are full of fun and excitement, it can also mean injuries and illness resulting visits to the doctor and ER. The Fisher-Titus Emergency Department staff would like to remind you of the following safety tips so that you can prepare to avoid them and keep our warm weather seasons fun and injury free!
With warmer weather, Spring showers, and the return of sunshine comes the return of yard work and landscaping. There are many hazards that can accompany yard work so make sure you take these precautions:
- When mowing, keep young children inside.
- Never let children ride on mowers or in carts towed by mowers.
- Children under 12 should not operate a push mower and those under 16 shouldn’t drive a riding mower.
- Pick up any large debris before mowing to avoid it becoming a projectile that could cause injury to yourself or others in the area.
- If you need to get off a ride on mower, make sure the blades are turned off before doing so. If you use a push mower, the mower should turn off before walking away.
- Remember, mower parts get hot. Store the mower away from children and take care if you need to touch any part of the mower.
BITES AND STINGS
It’s still early but already, the mosquitoes are out and soon we will hear the buzzing of bees looking for the first flowers of the season. Here are some precautions you can take to avoid bites and stings:
- Check under decks and eaves for bee and wasp nests.
- Use insect repellent on the outside of clothing as well as exposed skin. Avoid putting it on cuts. Instead of spraying your face, spray some on your hand and rub it on your face.
- Use repellent containing no more than 30% DEET.
- Avoid bright colored or floral clothing and scented soaps, perfumes, and hair products.
- To avoid ticks, especially while in the woods, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants and tuck your shirt into your pants and your pants into your socks.
- Check each other for ticks at the end of the day.
Thunderstorms are common in our area especially at the start of summer. It’s important to remember that the lightning shows they give us can be dangerous and to keep the following precautions in mind:
- Don’t go near the water or lie down on wet ground.
- Don’t go near tall or metal objects, such as flagpoles, trees, and fences.
- When inside, stay away from electrical appliances as these items are good conductors of electricity.
- Don’t watch storms from an open window or door. Avoid the fireplace as it is often a lightning target.
- Persons injured by lightning do not carry an electrical charge and can be handled safely. Apply first aid if you are qualified to do so and call 911 or send for help immediately.
Those most at risk for heat-related illness are young children and the elderly. To protect yourself and family members from heatstroke, dehydration, and sunburn:
- Remember that the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. so take extra precautions if you’re out during those times.
- Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside and every two hours while you’re out. If you are swimming or sweating, you will need to reapply more often and use waterproof sunscreen.
- Sunscreen should have a sun protection factor (SPH) of 15 to 30 and should protect against UVA and UVB rays. Even on cloudy days, the sun’s rays can be damaging so sunscreen is still necessary.
- Watch for signs of heat-related illness. These signs include fainting, dizziness, headache, nausea, flushed appearance, increased heart rate, and body temperature of 103 degrees or higher.
- Drink lots of fluids. Avoid beverages with alcohol or caffeine.
- Wear light colored, loose fitting clothing, and a hat. Find sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection.
- Keep children under 1 out of the sun as much as possible.
- When taking prescription drugs, check with your physician before any prolonged exposure to the sun.
Since 1995, the Fisher-Titus Helmets for Kids program has provided and fitted helmets for children 18 years and younger. This year, MetroHealth—our Trauma Program partner—has partnered with us to distribute helmets at events throughout Huron County. Check www.fishertitus.org for times and dates of helmet events. Before embarking on a bike ride this summer, make sure the whole family is riding safely:
- Always wear a helmet. Remember that your child will follow your lead so set an example by always wearing your helmet.
- Make sure your child’s helmet is the right size and is fitted properly for them.
- Children under 1 shouldn’t ride as passengers on adult bikes.
- Children ages 1 to 4 (or less than 40 pounds) should ride belted and wearing a helmet in a carrier seat mounted on your bike or in a bike trailer.
Some of the most fun we have in the summer centers around the water especially with Lake Erie so close to home. However, the water can also be dangerous. To avoid a tragic accident:
- Avoid swimming past your ability, or in rough water.
- Never leave children unattended, even if they are experienced swimmers. It only takes a minute for something to go wrong.
- Never swim alone.
- Make sure the water is deep enough before diving.
- Do not consume alcohol when swimming or boating.
- Learn CPR.
- Put a fence around your residential swimming pool.
- Teach children to avoid playing around open bodies of water.
- Discourage children from jumping in to help another swimmer. Teach them to throw the victim something that floats or a long object to grasp. Instruct them to call an adult for help.
- Teach children survival skills such as floating and treading water.
- Make sure young children wear properly fitting life jackets when swimming or playing near water like on a dock. Even adults should wear a life jackets for boating and while swimming in lakes, rivers, and the ocean. Check to make sure your life jackets are Coast Guard approved for your child’s size.
And remember, the Fisher-Titus Emergency Department is staffed 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a week by a highly qualified emergency team of nurses, physician assistants, and physicians who are board certified in emergency medicine, all backed by the latest technology and equipment at Fisher-Titus. For minor illness and injury, you can call your primary care provider for an appointment or advice on whether to go to the Emergency Room and Convenient Care is available after hours and when you can’t get an appointment.
Have fun this summer and stay safe!
Dr. Erin Kurtz is the Chief of Emergency Medicine at Fisher-Titus Medical Center. Fisher-Titus is a Level III Trauma Center, a Primary Stroke Center, and a Level II Adult Cardiac Catheritization Laboratory.