Summer time injuries that come into the Emergency Department can vary from very minor to horrible and traumatic. A mixture of the heat, late nights, holiday parties, alcohol, summer sports and the water/water sports can cause many different injuries in ages from very young all the way up to our elderly seniors. As an ER nurse I am amazed each summer with the trouble people can get themselves into. The poor choices they can make, the stupidness they can exhibit and how selfish parents can be sometimes when they choose to not watch their children. For pete's sake people use your brain some time, you do have one you know.
According to Colin Dircks, M.D., an emergency medicine physician at Piedmont Hospital in Georgia, three of the most common summer injuries are heat-related illness, head injuries and fireworks-related injuries.
“Heat cramps are common in the summer months and are caused by loss of sodium and other electrolytes. We see heat exhaustion and as heat illness progresses, you can develop nausea, headaches and even heat stroke,” says Dr. Dircks. With heat stroke, “the body core temperature elevates significantly – oftentimes more than 104 degrees Fahrenheit.”
To avoid heat-related illnesses, Dr. Dircks recommends “staying hydrated and replacing lost sodium by drinking sports drinks.”
In addition to heat-related illness, head injuries also increase in warm weather months. “The most common activity during the summer months responsible for head injuries is bicycle accidents,” he says. “Water sports-related injuries are also very common and are responsible for almost 30,000 ER visits annually. It is very important if you have a pool that children are under supervision at all times. Be sure to minimize horse play in and around the pool.”
When it comes to fireworks-related injuries, “these are commonly burns, foreign bodies, or lacerations, predominately in the hands, fingers and eyes,” says Dr. Dircks.
And be cautious with so-called “safe” fireworks, especially around children. “People think of sparklers as ‘safe’ fireworks and often give them to kids,” says Dr. Dircks. “They burn at about 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit and we see a lot of burns associated with them. They are responsible for as many ER visits as firecrackers.”
Stay tuned tomorrow for those dangers of fireworks