5 Common Summer Injuries and How to Prevent and Treat Them
Previously Posted on KSL.com. Click here to view original article and take a quiz.
There may be no cure for the summertime blues, but there are definitely ways to treat — and prevent — summertime’s worst ailments. Don’t let a summer injury steal your sunshine. When it comes to keeping yourself healthy, it’s all about prevention and treatment. Take the quiz at the end to see if you are prepared for the summer.
If an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, then sunscreen is your summertime gold. While it might seem like an easily avoidable ailment, Americans are still getting sunburned. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “more than one-third of U.S. adults reported a sunburn in the previous year, with rates higher among men and the non-Hispanic white population.”
If you find yourself paying the price of some summer sun-worshipping, The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends cooling your skin down as soon as possible, moisturizing the skin while damp, take or use an anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen or cortisone cream, replenish your fluids and see a doctor if you have severe blistering, a fever and chills or feel disoriented and woozy.
There’s nothing like a hot summer day spent poolside. That said, pools, lakes, rivers and other bodies of water can pose a serious threat to anyone. According to the CDC, drowning accounts for about 10 deaths per day in the United States, two of which occur among children under age 14. And for every child who dies of drowning, five more are sent to the emergency room for nonfatal drowning injuries.
If you can’t stand the heat, well, get out of the sun. As summer temperatures rise, so does your (and your family’s) risk of heat exhaustion. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, heat exhaustion and heat stroke occur when your body cannot keep itself cool.
Some symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, feeling weak, dizziness, nausea, fast heartbeat and dark-colored urine. On hot days, limit your activity outside and stay well-hydrated. If you notice any of the symptoms of heat exhaustion, get to a cool area as quickly as possible — like an air-conditioned room or a cool shower. If not treated, heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke in as little as 30 minutes, according to AAFP.
Whether you’re camping out under the stars or snoozing in your air-conditioned home, summer isn’t the time to let the bedbugs — or any bugs for that matter — bite. Mosquitos, one of summer’s most infamous pests, can carry a number of diseases, including West Nile virus. And depending on where you’re camping, ticks can also pose a threat because the burrowing insects may cause Lyme disease, a potentially fatal condition.
Regardless of what bit (or stung) you, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends seeing a doctor immediately if you experience difficulty breathing; the sensation your throat is closing; swollen lips, tongue or face; chest pain; a racing heartbeat; dizziness; vomiting; headache; a red, bull’s-eye rash (which can indicate a bite from a tick carrying Lyme); or a fever with a red or black spotty rash (which may indicate Rocky Mountain Fever, a bacterial infection also carried by ticks).
Forget the sun; summer is hot for a whole host of other reasons. From backyard barbecues to exploding fireworks, the season offers plenty of activities that may burn you — or worse. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2014 there were an estimated 1,400 emergency department-treated injuries associated with firecrackers — 54 percent of which were burns.
And if fireworks provide a popular summer pastime, outdoor grilling is downright iconic. The National Fire Protection Association recommends placing your grill well away from your home (never on a deck or under your home’s eaves). Keep your grill free from grease buildup, never allow children or pets near the grilling area and, of course, never leave your grill unattended.
If you get burned this summer, Salt Lake Regional Medical Center recommends soaking the burn in cool water and treating the affected area with aloe vera or antibiotic ointment. If your injuries are more severe, like a first– or second-degree burn that covers more than a 2– to 3-inch diameter; a burn on the face, genitals or joints; or any third-degree burn, get to the closest emergency room or call 801-350-4631.