Treating Summer’s Most Common Injuries and Illnesses
Well- for all of you who couldn’t wait for Summer to arrive… I hope You’re Satisfied!! As I write this article, we are in the midst of the second heat wave that we have endured in the past two weeks-with temperatures well over the 90° mark and humidity in the “oppressive zone”! You know it’s bad when my daughter Carolynn says it’s hotter here than by her in Clearwater, Fl.!!
But by and large- summer is usually a season full of great vacations, sports, and other enjoyable outdoor activities. Unfortunately, this summer has continued the trend of the last four months – necessitating social distancing which has prevented many of those fun activities from occurring. As a result, we have seen a rise in the number of summer related injuries that have occurred during activities that do not require a lot of social contact. That’s why this month I wanted to talk about some of the most common summer related injuries that are occurring this year and some simple helpful tips to prevent them so that you and your family can enjoy the warmth and have a safe and injury-free summer.
1. Swimming Injuries– Since less people are traveling this summer- there has been a drastic increase in home pools being built and installed. In fact, a recent article I read says that most pool companies are already sold out of their stock for the year! But this drastic increase in usage also increases the risk of pool related injuries and drownings. Unfortunately, drowning is the second most common cause of death by unintentional injury, behind car accidents, among children ages 1-4 years-old, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, spinal cord injuries from diving into shallow pools is also a real and present danger during these months. So- Here are some simple swimming safety tips:
- Never dive into shallow water.
- Jump into lakes, rivers or the sea feet-first, particularly in dark waters, where you can’t see what’s below.
- Stop swimming during inclement weather.
- Try to avoid crowded swimming spots where it’s hard to monitor your group.
- Avoid wearing headphones at the pool or beach, so you can hear any developing trouble.
2. Bicycling Injuries– Just like with pools, the need for home recreation and exercise has been a boom to the bicycle industry, with most bike stores unable to get any new inventory for months. And while biking is an excellent form of cardio activity which tends to spare the wear and tear on our lower backs and knees that running causes- it does come with its own risks. Many bicycle and safety advocacy organizations report that a greater number of bike accidents and injuries occur between May and September than all other times of the year. It is estimated that 11 percent of those killed in bicycle accidents are children, with kids ages 10 to 15 being the most likely to be involved in a bicycle accident.
So here are some simple yet pragmatic steps to ensuring that our kids stay safe while on their bicycles:
- Enroll in Bicycle Safety Classes – Even if your child has great balance and experience in riding his or her bicycle, it’s a good idea to enroll in a bicycle safety class. These courses will familiarize your kids with bicycle traffic and safety laws that will allow them to navigate traffic with confidence.
- Install Lights and Reflectors – One of the primary reasons why children are struck on bicycles is because drivers are unable to see them. The more visible your child is, the safer he or she is. Reflectors and headlights will make it much easier for a child to be seen.
- Install a Bell – Bicycle bells aren’t just cute and whimsical; they can save lives. Make sure that your child’s bell is functioning and is loud enough to be heard. Children should be taught to ring bells when passing other bicyclists or crossing intersections in order to avoid bike-to-bike collisions that could cause them to fall in the middle of busy roads and get struck by a car.
- Invest in a Great Helmet – Most importantly- your child should never ride a bicycle without a high-quality helmet. Wearing a helmet will reduce the chance of a head injury by 85 percent, according to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute. The use of a bicycle helmet also seriously reduces the chance that a bike accident, which often involves a motor vehicle, will be fatal for the cyclist.
3. Trampoline Injuries– I see more and more trampolines popping up in friend’s and family’s backyards- and they never fail to make me nervous! On average orthopedic physicians see one to three patients each week with a trampoline injury. Sprains and fractures are the most common among them but bruises, bumps and bloody noses are also a concern. Here are some trampoline safety recommendations:
- Allow only one person on a trampoline at any given time.
- Use a trampoline net to minimize falls.
- Make sure the trampoline is situated on a relatively soft surface such as a lawn.
- Make sure the trampoline is secure.
- Keep the trampoline well-maintained. Any damage to the supporting bars or mats present a fresh safety danger.
- Untrained tumblers should avoid somersaults and other “high-risk maneuvers.”
4. Heat Related Injuries– The common denominator to all summer related activities is the increased risk for heat-related conditions, from mild dehydration to severe heatstroke. In order to prevent these serious and sometimes fatal conditions, adhere to these simple tips:
- Stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking water steadily; don’t wait until you’re thirsty.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol which cause us to lose water more rapidly.
- Take frequent breaks in the shade or indoors in an air conditioned space.
- Wear loose fitting, light colored and lightweight clothes.
- Do not exercise outdoors in a heat wave. If you must exercise outdoors, then only exercise in the early morning hours, before 8 AM or after 6 PM.
- Take cool showers or baths to cool down.
For more information on any of these subjects, feel free to contact us at the office. In the meantime, enjoy the hazy lazy days of summer and stay safe!