Seven seasonal safety tips from St. Vincent’s One Nineteen
By Dr. Lynette Zills
July is for celebrating. From patriotic picnics to waterfront weekends, area residents will make the most of the next few weeks. And although we welcome everyone year-round to St. Vincent’s Urgent Care on the One Nineteen campus, no one wants a celebration to be marred by illness or accident.
That’s why I’m offering these seven tips for safe-and-healthy celebrations:
- Be water wise. Drowning is a real risk for anyone, but especially children. Swim aids are no substitute for life jackets. Assign a responsible adult to watch children in or near water. And you might help children enjoy more water fun by using over-the-counter drops to prevent swimmer’s ear infections. Shaking water out of the ear canal and keeping wet hair away from the ears can also help.
- Use sun smarts. Our youngest and oldest loved ones are at the highest risk for heat-related illness. But heat exhaustion, heat stroke and dehydration can happen at any age. Find a cool place for anyone who becomes fatigued or nauseated. Sip water all day, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
- Fear family fireworks. It’s not smart to hold something designed to explode. Each year firecrackers destroy lives. Even sparklers destroy vision. Leave fireworks to the professionals.
- Time your tuna. Perishable picnic foods should be packed in ice. Meats should be cooked thoroughly. And when that tuna salad or fried chicken is served, it shouldn’t remain uncooled. Set a one-hour phone alarm as a reminder to pack up the picnic and prevent foodborne illness.
- Restrict young riders. Children shouldn’t ride on mowers or tractors, especially upon the operator’s lap. Meanwhile, make sure bike riders of all ages wear helmets and other protective gear. Reflective clothing is also important, especially at dusk.
- Save your skin. Apply sunscreen early and often. While sunburns can be immediately dangerous, tanning raises subsequent skin cancer risks. Protect your skin from disease-carrying insects, too, by applying repellant on clothing. Prevent poison ivy/oak/sumac reactions by identifying and avoiding those plants and anything they touch, including firewood. Peel contaminated gardening gloves and clothing off carefully, and wash them separately.
- Know 911. We can address many minor injuries and acute illnesses at St. Vincent’s Urgent Care at One Nineteen. However, no Urgent Care center is a substitute for an Emergency Room. Always call 911 for chest pain, difficulty breathing or any life-threatening concern.
Dr. Lynette Zills is a family medicine physician and the medical director at St. Vincent’s Urgent Care.