Summertime is all about fun in the sun. However, there are plenty of backyard hazards that can lead to the Emergency Department.
Below, ED physician Paul Karagiannis, MD, discusses what most often brings summer patients into the emergency room.
Dehydration occurs when the body loses more liquid than has been taken in.
“Preventing dehydration is easy,” said Dr. Karagiannis. “Simply drink plenty of fluids, preferably water, take regular breaks in the shade, and try to schedule rigorous outdoor activities for times when the heat isn’t so strong.”
Signs of dehydration include:
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- Dry mouth
- Dark yellow urine
- Feeling tired
Spending a day on a boat is a great summer activity. However, if safety isn’t the first mate, the crew could end up in the emergency room.
“Drinking and boating is as dangerous as drinking and driving with the added dangers of falling out of the boat and drowning,” said Karagiannis. “Also, don’t be lackadaisical with the use of life jackets. Life jackets should be available for every person on board.”
Boat owners should learn CPR in case of emergency.
Much of summer is spent outdoors, and humans share that open space with many tiny creatures — some whose sting can be dangerous.
“Nearly seven million Americans have life-threatening allergies to insect stings,” Karagiannis said. “Avoid fruity or flowery perfumes, wear light-colored clothing, and cover sweet foods and drinks to help keep bees at bay.”
If any of these symptoms occur after a sting, go to the ED immediately.
- Hives, itchiness, or swelling over large areas of the body
- Tightness in the chest or trouble breathing
- Swelling of the tongue or face
- Dizziness or feeling faint
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the danger of sunburn goes far beyond the pain, redness and discomfort.
“The initial discomfort of sunburn will fade, but the lasting damage remains,” said Karagiannis. “The majority of skin cancer cases are rooted in overexposure to the sun.”
Take these simple steps to protect against sunburn:
- Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF that is water resistant. Reapply often if swimming or sweating.
- Cover as much skin as possible by wearing long sleeves, pants, a wide-brim hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
- Stay in the shade by walking on the shady side of the street, sitting under an awning, umbrella or tree, or retreat to a covered porch if available.
- Apply sunscreen to children starting at six months old. Infants should be kept out of the sun, or covered with clothing, hats, sunglasses and stroller sunshades if the sun cannot be avoided.
In case of an accident, call 9-1-1 or get to the closest emergency room immediately.