Safe Summer

Christopher Zaw-Mon, MD is the Director of Trauma Services at Lutheran Medical Center

Goodbye restrictions, hello summer! Most of us are anxious to get back to normal and experience the wonderful Colorado outdoors and fine weather with family and friends. Medically Speaking articles are intended to focus on prevention. There is no better time to have that focus than in the summer, when accidents and mishaps can result in visits to the emergency room. The National Safety Council points out the frequent hazards of summer, which include motor vehicle accidents, water and boating injuries, sun- and heat-related incidents, insect bites, food illnesses and firework-associated injuries, to name a few.

According to Pew Research, the first eight days of July rank highest for visits to the ER due to firework injuries. Your summer will be off to a great start if you and your loved ones can stay out of the ER. Eye trauma and burns are common firework injuries, and to be avoided. Let the professionals put on the fireworks show instead and avoid spending July 4th in the ER.

The Colorado Department of Transportation and Colorado State Patrol have identified the 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day as the deadliest days on the road in Colorado. Don’t forget to Click it or Ticket! The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that seat belts reduce fatalities by 50 percent. Helmet use reduces the risk of death, the incidence and severity of head injuries, as well as hospitalization rates. Wear one when on ATVs, motorcycles, bicycles, skateboards or electric scooters. The Consumer Products Safety Commission reports an 85 percent reduction in head injuries with the use of a helmet when bike riding.

Some local outdoor pools are now open. Equipped with trained lifeguards and shaded areas, it is a safer option for cooling off in the summer heat. Children under the age of 15 are at highest risk for drowning, and the risk is double for boys, according to the National Safety Council. Provide your children the undivided attention they deserve when near a body of water. Water depths can be deceiving and obstacles camouflaged, so never dive in head first or jump into unknown waters. Heat stroke can also result in a trip to the ER, so remember to wear sunscreen and stay hydrated in Colorado’s dry heat.

To avoid bug bites and stings, wear insect repellent, long sleeves and pants when out in nature. Shower afterward to reduce the risk of Lyme Disease.

Lastly, while enjoying the summer barbecue, ensure your burger is properly cooked and the potato salad is kept cool. Be wary of food left out too long at room temperature. Have a safe and wonderful summer. Remember, although Lutheran Medical Center is now a Level 2 trauma center, we would rather you enjoy summer safely and avoid visiting our ER!

Dr. Zaw-Mon is the director of Trauma Services at Lutheran Medical Center.

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