Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer, and as temperatures rise, so do injuries and visits to urgent care clinics and emergency rooms. Michigan Urgent Care has your guide to the most common causes of illness and injury during the summer months – food poisoning, cuts, burns, drownings, and car accidents. With attention toward prevention, many accidents can be avoided. When accidents and illnesses do occur, urgent cares can care for you.
There are more cases of food poisoning in summer than any other season. Food poisoning is most often caused by:
- Not washing hands prior to preparing food. Washing hands with warm soapy water is the easiest and most effective way to prevent the spread of germs – including germs that cause foodborne illness.
- Hot food that isn’t kept hot and cold food that isn’t kept cold. Bacteria in food multiplies rapidly between 40′ F and 140’F.
Seek medical care for food poisoning with prolonged vomiting and/or diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration.
Summer fruits like watermelon are often part of Memorial Day picnics. But large knives and a round, sometimes slippery fruit don’t cooperate. A slip of the knife or a misplace hand can result in an unexpected cut or larger laceration. If you are cut, follow these steps to clean the wound and control the bleeding.
- Clean the wound by rinsing the area under cool water. Soap is not needed as it may irritate the cut.
- For cuts, stop the bleeding by applying a clean cloth or bandage over the cut and applying pressure. Don’t peek! It may take upwards of 30 minutes for the bleeding to stop. Change the cloth if it becomes saturated with blood. Raising the area above heart-height may also slow the bleeding.
- Place an antibiotic cream like Neosporin or Polysporin on the area. Cover the wound with a bandage or sterile gauze.
Seek medical attention if the cut is 1/4 inch or deeper, has jagged edges, or fat, muscle or bone is visible, or if the bleeding does not stop within 20-30 minutes of constant pressure.
There’s nothing better on a summer day than firing up the grill. An open flame, a hot grill, and distractions are a recipe for an unexpected burn. If you find yourself burned, follow these steps to quickly treat at home:
- Run cool water over minor burns. First degree burns (redness, swelling and pain) and second degree burns (redness, blisters, severe pain) can be treated at home by running cool water (not cold) over the affected area for at least 10 minutes, and loosely wrapping the burn in sterile gauze.
- Take over the counter pain relievers.
Seek medical attention when minor burns are larger than three inches, or if on the face, hands, buttocks or groin. Third degree burns (black, charred skin), especially those over a large area of the body, require emergency treatment.
Drowning is the fifth leading cause of death from unintentional accidents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that between 2005-2014 there were an average of 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boating related) annually in the United States — about ten deaths per day.
About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger. For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.
Drowning is often depicted in movies and television as a panic swimmer actively slapping the water and waving their arms. In reality, most drownings are silent. According to Safe Bee, the most common signs of drowning are gasping, bobbing, and arms out to the side. The distressed swimmer rarely calls out for help since their head, including their nose and mouth, typically bobs in and out of the water making them gasp for air – quietly. Arms are usually out to the side pushing down on the water in an attempt to keep their nose and mouth above the water.
The two most crucial factors to prevent unintentional drowning are:
- Life Vests: All children should wear life vests, especially when on a boat, regardless of their swimming ability.
- Appoint a “Water Watcher”: Because slipping under water happens within 20-60 seconds of becoming distressed in the water, it is essential that an adult supervises the lake or pool, and do so without distraction from alcohol or cell phone use.
Swimming is an essential life skill that every child and adult should learn. There are programs for children and adults offered through YMCA/YWCA centers, Red Cross, and community education groups. Commit to swim lessons this summer for your children and, if needed, yourself.
Motor Vehicle Injury and Death
The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that 409 people may be killed on the roads during this year’s Memorial Day holiday period – the highest estimate the Council has released for the Memorial Day holiday period since 2012. NSC also estimates that 47,000 Americans will be seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents during the same holiday period.
While we cannot control what other drivers do, we can control what we do behind the wheel. The NSC suggests the following steps to be as alert and prepared as possible behind the wheel.
- Wear a seal.t belt on every trip. About 159 lives may be saved during the holiday because people will buckle up.
- Make sure children are restrained in safety seats that are appropriate for their height, age and weight.
- Designate an alcohol and drug-free driver or arrange alternate transportation. Impairment begins with the first drink.
- Get plenty of sleep and take regular breaks to avoid fatigue.
- Never use a cell phone behind the wheel, even hands-free.