Summertime Health Hazards - Steer Clear!
This summer, most of the focus has been on the Covid 19 pandemic, sidelining our discussion of other 'warm weather health hazards.'
However, let's not forget...summer usually brings a special set of situations and conditions we need to watch our for to protect our health - and we are in good control of avoiding these hazards.
Below are some key issues ER physicians often see during summer that land patients in emergency care...and some of them may surprise you! While Physical Therapists usually do not treat these issues, their priority is keeping our entire community as happy and healthy as possible.
Below are some top-ranking 'uh-ohs' and suggestions for how to spare yourself these mishaps:
1. Mower injuries - cuts to fingers, hands, arms directly from blades, and injuries from rocks, sticks, etc. being flung out of operating mowers. Tips for prevention: closed-toed shoes (no flip flops, daredevil!), keep kids away from running mowers, hire a service!
2. Boating accidents - the biggest liability: mixing alcohol and boat operation. Unsafe operation of boats result in the same types of accidents that happen while driving motor vehicles with the added risk of falling out of boats, getting hit by propellers, drowning... Tips for prevention: refrain from drinking or being under the influence, wear life jackets, and know CPR and first aid just in case.
3. Dehydration - perhaps the sneakiest but one of the most potent summer health disasters....and the easiest one to prevent. Heatstroke (you stop sweating) is particularly dangerous. Tips for prevention: never let your water bottle go dry, and make sure your fluid intake is well over what you are sweating out.
4. Sunburn - these burns are in fact first-degree burns (or worse) and just five sunburns set you up for a doubled risk of developing melanoma (skin cancer). Preventing sunburn with limited sun exposure, sunscreen, clothing and hats is best, but when those measures may fail, tips from prevention are: hydrate to replace fluids lost, soak burns with cool water for a few minutes, use antihistamine spray or ointments to help with itching, and apply antibiotic ointment or aloe to affected areas.
5. Stings - for most, a bee or wasp sting or insect bite just causes temporary pain and maybe a bit of swelling and itch, but for some, they can be life-threatening. If an insect sting or bite causes hives, tightness in the chest or trouble breathing, swelling in tongue or face, or extreme dizziness, head to the ER. Tips for prevention: keep your leisure or work site free of things that may attract bees, mosquitoes, etc., such as heavy perfumes and scents or dark floral patterns (yep, you may be confused with nourishment otherwise), and sugary drinks in open containers.