A change in season can bring a change in the injuries seen in a hospital emergency room, according to Malcolm Creighton, MD, chair of Hospital Based Specialties and Emergency Medicine. “When the weather is warmer, more people are outside.”
Share the Road. And the Bike Path
Creighton says he sees lots of rollerblading and biking injuries during the summer. “Bike paths are more crowded, so there’s a higher risk you can run into someone.” The best way to prevent a crash or fall is to pay attention to where you’re going and wear the proper protective gear.
It’s Not Jaws. But Drowning is Just as Dangerous
Another outdoor spot that can get crowded? Beaches. With more people heading to the sandy shores, it’s easier for someone struggling in the water to go unnoticed, even in the presence of a lifeguard. If you’re not used to swimming (and according to a 2014 Red Cross survey , about half of Americans aren’t), wear a life jacket, stay close to the shore, or take a dip with a [observant] friend.
Pesky Pests and Plants
Being outside can also lead to the pesky problem of rashes and bites. “People will have more contact with poisonous elements, like poison ivy, oak, and sumac,” says Creighton. The common phrase “leaves of three, leave them be,” should help avoid encountering those kinds of plants.
Beware of bug bites and ticks in the summer; “Wasps tend to go after folks in the late summer, around August.” And those nasty green flies (you’ll know them when you see them…or when they bite you at the beach) are quite the nuisance. Keep bug repellent handy when spending extended time outside. Always check your body for ticks, and if you find one, remove it in its entirety.
Here Comes the Sun
Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are especially prevalent in New England — when blistering heat is really only consistent 2-3 months out of the year. “People here aren’t acclimated to hot days,” says Creighton. Be sure to apply an appropriate amount of sunscreen and re-apply every 2-3 hours. Check on elderly neighbors and family members during severely hot days, and drink plenty of fluids.
Baby, You’re a Firework
It’s almost time for July 4th celebrations, and while fireworks are illegal in Massachusetts, they still seem to make their way into the Bay State. “We will see more injuries during summer with fireworks because people aren’t used to them or trained properly to use them,” says Creighton. Some advice? Leave the fireworks to the professionals.
Staying vigilant is key to avoiding most of these summertime injuries and ultimately, a trip to the emergency room.