PRN Healthcare provided this article.
For most people, the Fourth of July is a time for a celebration, grilling out, and spending time with family and friends. However, for many healthcare workers, the Fourth of July is a busy time treating many holiday-related injuries. To keep you safe, we made a list of the most common reasons people end up in the ER on the Fourth of July:
Not surprisingly, a significant portion of ER injuries during the Fourth of July are related to fireworks/sparklers. Most of these injuries are due to people holding the fireworks too close to them while lighting them or young children handling them. If you are the person lighting the fireworks, make sure you walk away quickly after lighting it and only light one firework at a time. It is also important to have water nearby just in case something happens. Another piece of advice is to never wear loose clothing while dealing with fireworks in case the loose clothes would catch on the fireworks, or a spark could land on the clothing, causing it to catch on fire. When lighting fireworks, wear protective gloves, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants to avoid a spark landing on the exposed skin. Always face the firework/sparkler away from yourself and other surrounding people in the area. The next point is to leave the fireworks to the professionals! A person should never let children handle fireworks or sparklers on their own. There have been many serious injuries related to children having burns on their hands, forearms, and feet due to fireworks and sparklers.
Pay Careful Attention to Food Preparation to Avoid Food Poisoning
A big part of the Fourth of July involves grilling out. Make sure the food you are consuming is fully cooked and hasn’t been in the sun for too long. Many illnesses on the Fourth of July are due to foodborne bacteria from undercooked or poorly prepared food. The patients that are sent to the ER for food poisoning are typically from the food sitting out for a while in the heat. Make sure to avoid eating any perishable food item that has been sitting out for more than an hour or two, and some examples of this are potato salad or chicken salad. Even though the food may still look and smell okay, it doesn’t mean there aren’t any food bacteria on it. Other tips to avoid food poisoning are to be mindful when preparing your food and ensure the raw meat never comes in contact with other food. You must keep your raw food items away from the other food and always make sure to consistently wash your hands while cooking and preparing food for others.
Dehydration and Heat Stroke
Many people are outside in the sun and heat for the majority of the Fourth of July. It is important to drink a sufficient amount of water and stay hydrated throughout the day if you are participating in outdoor activities. Always make sure to have water with you at all times, and make sure you are actually drinking it. A tip would be to carry a water bottle around with you so that when you need to refill it, you have easy access to do so. Health experts recommend that each person drinks eight 8-ounce glasses (2 liters) a day. If possible, try taking a break from the sun by going to shaded areas and cooling down for a while. A large number of patients that go to the hospital on the Fourth of July come with some symptoms of severe dehydration. It is also significant that you recognize some of the symptoms of heatstroke, which include fast heartbeat, rapid breathing, dizziness, confusion, headache, nausea, or fainting. If you or someone else is experiencing any of these symptoms, try moving into the shade or air-conditioned area and drinking lots of water.
No matter what you are doing on the Fourth of July, make sure to wear sunscreen and protective clothing to cover yourself from the sun and avoid getting extremely burned. The sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., which you should limit your sun exposure during some of those hours. In the case of extreme sunburn, go to a drug store and pick up aloe vera to help cool and relieve the pain of the sunburn.
Motor Vehicle or Boating Accidents Related to Drunk Driving or Distracted Driving
During most holidays, there is typically an increase in alcohol consumption, which, unfortunately, can lead to many motor vehicle or boating accidents. Remember, if you want to have a safe Fourth of July, do not drink and drive! Make sure not to get into a car with anyone who has been drinking and take their keys away from them even if they think they are able to operate a vehicle/boat while intoxicated. Also, do not text or talk on the phone while driving because your main focus should be only on the road, and all the other distractions can wait till later!
Overall, I hope everyone has a fun and safe Fourth of July. Just a reminder to be extra cautious while working with fireworks and pay close attention to what food you’re consuming. Also, make sure you are drinking plenty of water and look out for anyone who is consuming high amounts of alcoholic drinks, and don’t allow them to operate a motor vehicle or boat. The Fourth of July is such a fun holiday during the year, but we must make sure to follow some of these safety tips to allow everyone to have a good time!
We hope you found these tips on Common Reasons People End Up in the ER on the Fourth of July helpful. Are you a travel nurse that has worked on the Fourth of July? Do you have any other tips on how people can be safe on the Fourth of July and avoid going to the ER due to an injury?
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