Summer Safety Tips from the ER

Summer is here, and with summer come many hazards unique to this time of year.

Emergency room doctor Brady Pregerson published a book “Don’t Try This at Home: Lessons from the Emergency Department,” and followed it up with a series of “Think Twice: More Lessons from the ER” books.He has a website dedicated to safety, GotSafety.org.A few of Dr. Pregerson’s hints for summer months follow.

Summer months usually mean more time spent outdoors – hiking, road trips, maintaining the yard, and swimming being just a few typical activities.Dr. Pregerson has advice for all of these activities and more.

A major hazard for hikers in the summer is heatstroke.Pregerson said “I’ve had patients who died of heatstroke from walking four hours in the desert.”We don’t have any deserts in New Jersey, but there are plenty of other hiking hazards – sunburn, storms, getting lost, insects among them.Make sure to bring sunscreen, stick to marked trails, have (and know how to read!) a map, hike with a buddy, and make sure someone knows where you are hiking.Mosquitoes can carry many diseases, including West Nile Encephalitis.A study from the Center for Disease Control showed that New Jersey is “loaded” with ticks that carry Lyme Disease.Bug repellent with DEET will fend off both mosquitoes and ticks.

Dr. Pregerson has advice for the road trip that will get you to those hiking excursions.In addition to the usual – drive safely and buckle up – he suggests having medical information such as a list of allergies or other health issues, list of medications, and insurance card kept handy with your driver’s license.That way even if you are unconscious, medical personnel will find the information and treat you appropriately.

But you don’t have to leave home to be exposed to summer hazards.Everything in your yard grows faster in the summer.Before mowing your lawn, make sure to pick up any branches or rocks that could be turned into dangerous projectiles by your lawnmower.Wear protective equipment when shearing hedges, and if you’re digging in the dirt make sure your tetanus shot is current – adults need a booster every ten years.

A favorite way to beat the heat is swimming, and the water of course is full of hazards.Never swim alone. Make sure young children are always VERY closely supervised around water.If you have any teenagers in your family, make sure they know not to jump into waters where the depth is unknown. Teens often take up dares to jump into rivers or ponds, and many have suffered very serious injuries from hitting rocks.

Despite precautions, accidents may happen, and if there is any question that someone else’s negligence may have played a role in an accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney at the New Jersey Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Hasson, P.C.

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