Tips to Avoid the Busy Emergency Room This Summer Season

Summer will be here so soon.

Water - Enjoy the water but don’t drink then swim, raft or dive. An elevated blood alcohol concentration (that means if you’re buzzed or more) will allow you to be confused and drown more easily than not. It may also alter your judgment and allow you to be in risky situations (going down those rapids that you were always afraid sober to try and raft)

Fire - Like they say: Fire is a great servant but an awful master. Take caution in starting fires with any of the fire-starter accelerants. A flash burn or worse can be the result. Remember to stop, drop and roll if you need to extinguish yourself.

Allergy - Just the usual avoidance of the plants and take antihistamines (OTC usually works well).

Insects - Don’t mess with the hive. Africanized honey bees can be nasty in their vigor and persistence in attacks upon those who torment them. Distance and barrier protection will minimize the problems. Call for help promptly.

Avoid being outside at dawn and dusk without insect repellent (high concentration applied DEET is excellent repellent). Too many viruses are spread by insect diseases. 

Tics - Let someone check you each 24-hour period or less. Remove them carefully (see internet for management).

Other Summertime Activities - Generally, don’t mow grass barefoot. Do not put hands in holes unless you can see that it is safe. Watch for snakes. Climb trees carefully. Think before you use a rope swing: Are my arms/hands strong enough?

July 4th - A big day in the Emergency Room. Too much sun, alcohol, fire and explosions.

Fireworks - Remember, if a firecracker goes off in your hand (blowing off fingers) it can also blow out your eardrums! If you dare, you can drunkenly firewalk across the still-hot coals and maybe still Have a Glorious Fourth!

Softball - remember to not slide in that softball game; too many severe ankle fractures, even in those cases when there is a break-away base. Head first? Do you really need to be that hero?

Sun - A tan is not your friend! Despite the popularity suggested in the fake press.

It speeds up the aging of the skin and thus your appearance. It will also increase your risk for a variety of skin cancers (the surgery required can be somewhat disfiguring); some deadly. Cover up completely and use sunscreen. Practice looking at your shadow to protect your face!  Lol

Temperature and Humidity - Stay hydrated. Keep drinking and urinate about once each hour. With usual (non-alcoholic or weakly alcoholic) liquids and pretty normal kidneys, drinking is more important than what you drink in keeping you going. Volume is more important than particular ingredients or lack of ingredients. In low humidity areas (think the Arizona desert) where you may not notice sweat, since the sweat you produce evaporates so quickly you miss identifying it; nevertheless, you are losing water. So, keep drinking. Plain water is good, but after a couple of quarts try something with some electrolytes in it. That can help avoid a low sodium concentration in the blood (it’s not good and makes you feel bad).

Have a great summer and as always Be Emergency Free

Paul Weinberg, MD