Stay Safe This Summer Break, John Walters, MD
Summer is the time for fun in the sun, BBQs, fireworks, home improvement projects and… injuries. Even the simplest tasks can bring about a serious injury that can send you to the ER. Here are some tips to stay safe this summer.
Scrub-a-dub-grill. Before you put those kabobs on the grill, you need to clean it, right? Take care to not use a steel-bristled brush. Often not seen with the naked eye, the steel bristles can come off the brush and eventually wind up in your food. These bristles can be painful as they are so small and can get stuck between teeth or hurt your gums, or even the inside of your throat.
Pay attention to warnings. Head and neck injuries will most definitely bring you into the ER. If you see a sign that says, “No Diving,” don’t dive. Warnings are there to keep you and your family safe. If the National Weather Service warns of rip tides at the beach or strong currents, stay out of the water – even if you’re a strong swimmer you can get swept out to sea.
Read the labels. These days, everything from sunscreen to power tools comes with a label that explains how it should be used. For example, if a power washer says to use both hands to hold the nozzle, use both hands. It might sound like common sense but it only takes on misread or an assumption that you already know how to use it to put you in danger for injury to your face or eyes.
Watch your back. Trimming trees or cutting vents in the roof to alleviate the heat are common hot-weather chores and they often involve a ladder. Not every ladder is equal and some have weight restrictions. Use the appropriate ladder for your task and always have someone off the ladder, down below spotting you in case you slip or the ladder begins to tilt. Ladder and height-related injuries are some of the most serious limb and head injuries – and at times, life-threatening.
Don’t cover your face. We’re not talking about not using sunscreen – we’re talking about keeping your line of vision free. While your kids are napping or entertaining themselves in the AC, you may want to do some home cleaning or laundry. Remember that you must be able to see over the basket you are carrying or you may trip, slip or tumble. A few extra trips to the dryer can save you a sprained or broken ankle. And if you’re cleaning, don’t put your face too close to the polish, spray or disinfectant. That’s a great way to irritate your eyes and in some events, cause blindness.
These are great tips to follow however, you might find a trip to the ER is unavoidable. Remember that Roper St. Francis Healthcare’s five emergency departments are open 24/7 if you should need one. For locations, visit www.rsfh.com/er.
Roper St. Francis Healthcare