Summer is upon us! With all of the extra activities, outdoor fun, and traveling, we find ourselves at greater risk for injuries and mishaps that land us in a Houston Emergency Room. The reality is, emergency room visits more than double in the spring and summer—emergency room professionals brace themselves for what they call “trauma season” as they know that an upsurge in attendance is to be expected with all of the outdoor fun, water sports, and recreational activities taking place.
To avoid a costly and unpleasant trip to your nearest emergency room this summer, the team at Sacred Heart Emergency Center have these tips for summer safety when you are enjoying outdoor weather:
Avoid Dehydration: Drink Plenty Of Water
With increased temperatures comes increased potential for dehydration. Dehydration can affect pulse, breathing, and body temperature to such a point that there is a need for medical intervention if left unchecked. If you are going to be in warm temperatures for an extended period of time, make sure you are taking in adequate water through your consumption of water, fresh fruits and vegetables, and beverages containing electrolytes. These will help to replace vitamins and minerals lost through sweating and allow you to rebalance your system once more. Aim for at least half your body weight in ounces, and more if you plan to be out in the sun and heat all day.
Avoid Sunburn: Use Sunscreen
Yes, sunburn can land you in the emergency room. Extreme sunburn causes blistering and peeling of the outer layers of skin and raises body temperature, leaving you vulnerable to heat stroke and infections. Before going outside, make sure to apply a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, and reapply as needed after sweating and exposure to water. Keep track of how you feel as you spend your time in the sun, and seek shelter or cover if you find yourself feeling excessively hot or faint. If you do get sunburned, you can cool the skin with a cool washcloth, or apply aloe vera gel to protect skin while cooling at the same time. Stay hydrated and wear loose clothing that doesn’t stick to damaged layers of skin; protect those sensitive outer layers!
Avoid Heatstroke: Keep Tabs On Weather Conditions
Heatstroke is serious business; often times people do not realize it is happening until the effects are serious and medical attention is required. Symptoms of heatstroke include:
- Throbbing headache
- Lack of sweating
- Red, hot, dry skin
- Weakness, muscle cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rapid heartbeat
- Shallow breathing
Seek medical attention immediately if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms. To reduce the possibility of heatstroke, avoid heavy physical activity outdoors during peak sun and heat hours, drink plenty of water, and find shade when necessary.
Avoid Water-Related Injuries: Swim Smart
When swimming at the beach or at the pool, make sure to take a buddy with you so you can keep an eye on each other. Swim only in designated areas, and follow all lifeguard’s instructions with regard to safety protocol. If there is a problem, seek help immediately. Don’t go into areas that you are not ready to swim in, and keep your eyes and ears open for potentially dangerous situations like approaching storms or high wind and waves. Smart swimming is safe swimming; follow these tips and prepare for a lot of fun in the sun.
Avoid Car Accidents: Be Prepared
When preparing for travel via long car trips with the kids, make sure you have all vehicle maintenance done prior to your departure. If possible, make sure that you are well rested before you attempt to drive long distances, and eliminate distractions from the backseat by planning things for the kids to do while you are racking up the miles. Perhaps your partner in crime could come up with a few creative car games or some free drawing activities that could be done while you are waiting to get to Walley World.
Avoid Allergic Reactions: Have Meds On hand
A bee sting, a stray nut in a pasta salad, or an asthma attack can quickly become a critical health condition if you don’t have the proper medication to handle such a situation. If you are going to be out and about, make sure that you bring all required medications with you and be prepared to use them quickly, should the need arise. In situations like this, precious minutes can mean the difference between life and death; be prepared for anything that comes your way.
Following these tips for summer safety will ensure that you and your whole family will benefit from fun in the sun while staying out of the ER. Now, go soak up some summer fun!