Have a safe summer

March 2, 2017

Summer is the ultimate laid-back time—think flip-flops, T-shirts and barbecues.iStock-518185202.jpg

Although it's easy to be casual about many things in the summer, it's not good to be casual about safety. With warm weather comes the risk for certain injuries and health problems—some serious enough to be life-threatening.

Here are some suggestions on how to keep you and your family safe:

  • Secure home windows. Opening the windows is a must if you don't have air conditioning or if you're simply trying to keep your electric bill in check. But keep this in mind if children are in your home: Every year thousands of kids in the U.S. are killed or injured in falls from windows. You can't depend on screens to keep children safe. Your best choice is to install window guards or window stops—especially on bedroom windows. You can buy them online or at hardware stores. Also, try to keep furniture away from windows to discourage kids from climbing near windows.
  • Make helmets a priority. Many kids practically live on their bikes during the summer. Before yours hop on theirs, make sure they're wearing a helmet. (The same advice applies to you.) Helmets help reduce the risk of head injury—such as concussion and other traumatic brain injuries—and of death from bicycle crashes. Helmets are also a good idea when riding a horse or skateboard, batting or running bases in baseball or softball, or using inline skates.
  • Watch out for heatstroke. As the temperature rises, so does the risk of a heat-related illness. The most serious one is heatstroke, which is a medical emergency. Signs and symptoms include a body temperature above 103 degrees; hot, red, dry or moist skin; a rapid and strong pulse; and possible unconsciousness. Call 911 immediately if you think someone has heatstroke. Move the person to a cooler environment, and try to bring his or her temperature down with cool cloths or a bath. Do not give the person fluids.
  • Know the signs of anaphylaxis. This is a potentially deadly allergic reaction. The most common triggers are foods, insect stings, medications and latex. Signs and symptoms include a red rash (usually itchy) with hives or welts; swelling in the throat or other areas of the body; wheezing; and trouble breathing or swallowing.

Anaphylaxis requires immediate medical attention, including an injection of the drug epinephrine and a trip to the hospital emergency department.

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