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The Most Common Reasons for Visiting the ER in Summer and How to Avoid Them

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Summer: Fun Time or Time to Visit the ER?

Summer involves so many opportunities to relax and have a good time (and, of course, not such a good time with chores such as mowing the lawn).  But did you know that many of the fun summer activities that you probably enjoy can also be dangerous to your health if you don’t take the proper precautions?  Dr. Brady Pregerson, an emergency room physician based out of Southern California, recently penned a book entitled “Think Twice: More Lesson from the ER” in which he details the most common reasons for patients to visit the ER in the summertime and how to avoid these disasters.

A Few of the Most Common Summertime Safety Disasters 

  1. Lacerations from windows: if you want some fresh air in your home, don’t push on the glass to open a window.  Dr. Pregerson says that he sees many serious arm and hand lacerations from this move.  Also, if you’ve got small children, make sure to put window guards on all your windows so that little ones will be safe from falling out.
  2. Bacteria in the soil: if you’ve got a green thumb, be aware that soil contains a bacteria called Clostridium tetani, which can be deadly.  To protect yourself from the bacteria entering your body through a small cut or splinter, make sure you are up to date with your Tetanus shot.
  3. West Nile Virus or Lyme disease: nasty little bugs like mosquitoes and ticks can spread West Nile virus or Lyme disease.  You can protect yourself by using DEET and suppress the mosquito population around your home by eliminating standing water sources, particularly after a rain.
  4. Vigorous exercise in hot weather: it can be very dangerous to exercise outside in hot weather, and it doesn’t even have to be that hot.  The pregnant, elderly, and those with health conditions can be particularly vulnerable to hot temperatures and should make sure to stay out of the sun, drink plenty of fluids, and stay cool.
  5. Walking around barefoot: many people enjoy taking off their shoes and walking around barefoot during the summer months.  However, even walking to the bathroom in the middle of the night without shoes can result in a broken toe, if hit just right.  Also, if you’re around a pool, make sure to wear pool shoes to avoid accidental cuts from sharp objects or athlete’s foot.
  6. Camping safety: camping is fun in the summer, but from unwanted visitors to your food supply to un-doused fires, it’s very important to practice camping safety.  For example, if you leave your shoes outside the tent at night, make sure to shake thenm out before putting them on–you could avoid getting an unwanted visit to your feet from a scorpion or spider.  Always make sure to douse a camp fire before going to bed to avoid a fire.

Dr. Pregerson: the “Safety” Doc

You can read more safety tips at Dr. Pregerson’s website.  Dr. Pregerson is known as the “safety doc” because of his emphasis on the prevention of illness and injury through community education.  It’s worth taking a look at some of Dr. Pregerson’s other safety tips for the summer, to keep you out of the ER and able to enjoy the nice weather.  You can also check out other websites, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, for additional summer safety tips on fireworks, playgrounds, bugs, bikes, and recreational vehicle safety.