Prevent Injuries to Keep the Fun in Summer
Louisville, Ky. (June 10, 2013) — Summer is here, kids are out of school and fun and freedom reign. But with every summer comes an increase of injuries ranging from minor bumps and bruises, to serious head injuries or broken bones.
KentuckyOne Health is working to help parents ensure that a summer injury doesn’t spoil the fun.
“A number of summertime injuries are preventable simply by taking some basic precautions,” said Melissa A. Platt, MD, FACEP, FAAEM, associate professor, University of Louisville, Department of Emergency Medicine, and at University of Louisville Hospital. “Wearing a helmet when riding a bicycle, limiting sun exposure and drinking plenty of water are some simple preventative measures that can make a big difference.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approximately 570 Americans die every year from heat exposure. Kentucky has a warm humid climate and often experiences summer temperatures soaring well into the 90s, as well as a heat index over 100 degrees making heat-related illness a serious threat. Some simple, yet effective steps can help prevent sun and heat-related injury and illness.
· Drink two to five times more than the usual amount of water.
· Use sunscreen rated SPF-15 or higher and reapply often.
· Remember that the sun is strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., so limit time outside during these hours. Choose cooler, early morning or evening hours for outdoor activities.
· Limit physical activity. If exertion is required, take frequent breaks. Also, heed warning signs such as a pounding heart or shortness of breath, and stop to rest in a cool place.
- Never leave a child or pet unattended in a car. Temperatures inside a vehicle can heat to life threatening temperatures in a matter of minutes.
It is also important to avoid sunburns, a significant risk factor in the development of skin cancer. According to the CDC, Kentucky had the sixth highest melanoma death rate nationally from 2002-2006.
Also common during summer are brain injuries resulting from a fall, bicycle crash, sports injury or dive into a shallow pool. According to the Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky, one in five Kentucky families report they have at least one family member with a brain injury.
The CDC research indicates that 75 percent of all traumatic brain injuries are concussions and many concussion victims may show no symptoms initially.
If a child experiences a head injury, be sure to keep a watchful eye. Changes in normal behavior, vomiting or loss of consciousness can all be a sign of something more serious—requiring immediate medical attention.
“Brain injuries can be life changing, but some can be prevented by using cautionary measures,” said Darryl Kaelin, MD, Associate Professor and Chief of Physical Medicine and Rehab at University of Louisville, and medical director of Frazier Rehab Institute, part of KentuckyOne Health. “Many people assume that a concussion is minor, but a concussion/traumatic brain injury can have long-term effects like physical disability, pain, cognitive disabilities and more.”
Frazier Rehab Institute is a comprehensive rehabilitation system that has earned national recognition for its rehab programs, highly skilled therapists, state-of-the-art-facilities and innovative therapeutic techniques. The Institute’s Brain Injury Program works with patients to address the long-term impact of brain injury.
To prevent injury, keep this advice in mind during summer activities:
- All play equipment should be an appropriate height for each child. Tree houses should never be more than 10 feet in the air.
- Protective gear is a must. Be sure to outfit children with activity-appropriate protective gear, like bike helmets or shin guards for soccer, whenever they engage in these activities. Protective gear should also be worn while riding ATVs and other motorized vehicles.
- When engaging in water activities, be mindful of the water’s depth.
In the event of an injury, know when to call 9-1-1. If a child is unconscious, vomiting, acting out of character, bleeding excessively or has difficultly feeling or moving an injured area, seek medical attention immediately.
As the largest health care provider in the commonwealth, KentuckyOne Health is committed to improving the health of both individuals and entire communities by providing top-notch quality care and prevention tools for residents across the state.
About KentuckyOne Health
KentuckyOne Health was formed when two major Kentucky health care organizations came together in early 2012. KentuckyOne Health combines the Jewish and Catholic heritages of the two former systems – Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s HealthCare and Saint Joseph Health System. In late 2012, the organization formed a partnership with the University of Louisville Hospital | James Graham Brown Cancer Center. The nonprofit system is committed to improving the health of Kentuckians by integrating medical research, education, technology and health care services wherever patients receive care. KentuckyOne Health has more than 200 locations including hospitals, physician groups, clinics, primary care centers, specialty institutes and home health agencies, with nearly 15,000 employees across the state of Kentucky and southern Indiana. KentuckyOne Health is the largest health system in Kentucky and has more than 3,100 licensed beds.
One of the easiest ways to prevent head and brain injury during the summer months is to wear protective gear. Wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by 45 percent and the risk of brain injury by 33 percent or more.
Dr. Darryl Kaelin, associate professor and chief of physical medicine & rehab at University of Louisville, and medical director of Frazier Rehab Institute, part of KentuckyOne Health, examines a brain injury patient.
Summertime Safety Fact Sheet
The backyard is often the central hub of summertime family activities. Whether it be a neighborhood cookout or playing on the swing set, parents should be mindful of the potential dangers and take simple steps to prevent injury and harm.
- Insects can carry threatening diseases, so be sure to regularly apply insect repellant. Check children and pets for ticks after playing outside, especially when near wooded areas.
- Never leave a child unattended near a pool or other body of water.
- Ensure that swing sets and other play equipment offer a safe place to land in the event of a fall.
- Lawn mowers can result in serious injury. Deep cuts, loss of limb, broken bones, burns and eye injury are common injuries that can be caused even to bystanders as lawnmowers blow debris.
- Check your yard for poisonous plants and teach your children to never put any berries, plants or flowers in their mouths. Be mindful that many fertilizers, pesticides and cleaners can be poisonous.
- Keep children away from grills and other outdoor cooking supplies and keep the grill away from other objects, including the house and bushes.
The summer sun can be fun, but beware of sunburns, a significant risk factor in the development of skin cancer. Always be sure to wear sunscreen rated SPF-15 or higher and reapply often. Be aware that the sun is strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., so limit time outside during these hours. According to the CDC, Kentucky had the sixth highest melanoma death rate nationally from 2002-2006.
Brain injuries are common among many summer sports and activities. According to the Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky, one in five Kentucky families report they have at least one family member with a brain injury.
- Every year, at least 1.7 million traumatic brain injuries occur either as an isolated injury or along with other injuries.
- Concussions and other brain injuries are most common among infants, children, teens and the elderly (65 and older).
- Headache (85%) and Dizziness (70-80%) are most commonly reported symptoms immediately following concussions for injured athletes.
If you or someone you love starts to exhibit signs of serious medical conditions or experiences an injury, be sure to seek medical attention immediately. In case of a medical emergency, always call 9-1-1.