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Avoid the Emergency Room - Put Safety First on the Fourth
For years I dreaded sunset on the Fourth of July. You see, after a day of fun and good food with family and friends, when our three boys pulled out their arsenal of fireworks they'd purchased at a roadside stand (are all boys pyromaniacs?) my stress level spiked to the red zone.
Bill said I was over-reacting. He reminded me that fireworks must meet consumer safety standards and promised to make sure the boys followed safety precautions. This never relieved my angst. So I did what I always do when a fun activity is also a potentially harmful activity: I take precautionary measures -- and I pray (a lot). Whether your day includes a cookout, camping, a parade or a day at the lake, here are some good things to know and do to avoid the Emergency Room this weekend.
Leave fireworks to the professionals. One out of three people injured by fireworks are under 15 years of age. Sixteen percent of fireworks injuries are caused by sparklers burning hands and legs, and they account for almost half the injuries to children less than 5 years of age.
Avoid dehydration. High heat and increased activity cause people -- especially children and the elderly -- to lose more water than usual, so pack plenty of beverages if you're picnicking or heading to the lake. According to Dr. Erika Schwartz, Medical Director of Cinergy Health, the human body needs 4 to 6 ounces of fluid per hour to stay hydrated and avoid heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Urinating every 2 to 3 hours indicates that you are sufficiently hydrated. She suggests drinking sports drinks like Gatorade replenish fluids and staying away from alcoholic and caffeinated drinks, as they cause dehydration. Also avoid drinks with sugar substitutes, as they cause chemical imbalances and may precipitate blood-sugar level fluctuations.
Respect the sun. Re-apply sunscreen on your kids if they will be outside all day. Make sure your sunscreen has a high effectiveness rating. Dr. Schwartz suggests that parents keep children out of the sun between 10:00 A.M. and 4:00 P.M. when the sun is strongest and UVB may cause serious burns.
What will you do differently this year to put safety first?