Avoiding a Trip to the ER This Summer
Summer is officially here! Though this season is filled with warm weather and plenty of exciting activities, it’s also a time where there is an increase in visits to the emergency room.
Keep reading to learn more about the most common medical emergencies we see during summer so you and your family can have a safer season.
Heat Safety Tips
Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke
With the sweltering summer temperatures here in Dallas, falling victim to heat stroke and heat exhaustion is fairly common. When the heat index is over 91, try to stay in cool areas and out of the sun.
Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat stroke. If you have any of these symptoms, you should visit our center for treatment:
- Little or no sweating
- Hot, dry skin
- Flushed cheeks
- Fever (over 104° F)
- Racing heartbeat
- Rapid breathing
- Nausea & vomiting
- No urine output
- Loss of consciousness, fainting
When it’s a nice hot and dry Dallas day, you’re not likely to stop working, playing your favorite sport, working on the house, fixing the car or exercising, to grab some water. However, if you haven’t been drinking enough to keep up with the heat index, you may be putting yourself at risk for dehydration.
Children and infants, as well as older adults, are especially susceptible to dehydration and could result in the need for a medical emergency.
Dehydration becomes an emergency concern when the following symptoms are present:
- A fever of 103° F or more.
- Severe headache.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Pain in the chest or stomach.
- No urination in the past 12 hours.
- Confusion and dizziness.
To avoid a trip to the ER, be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day — whether you’re outdoors or not. If you’re dehydrated and can’t rehydrate yourself quickly enough, or if your condition has deteriorated, you should seek medical help immediately.
Some cases of sunburn aren’t life-threatening initially, but over time can lead to skin cancer and other health concerns. That’s why it’s important to use high SPF sunscreen and reapply it often — especially if you are sweating or lounging in the pool. You may also consider wearing a hat, sunglasses, and long-sleeved clothing if you’ll be outdoors for a long time.
Additionally, try to stay in the shade during peak sun hours (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.), and keep children in the shade throughout the day as they are more prone to sunburn and heat exhaustion.
Summer Activity Safety Tips
From fun in the pool to on the field, there are plenty of activities that we love doing during summer! However, this warm-weathered fun could quickly lead to an accident if we’re not careful.
While splashing around in the pool is fun for every member of the family, it can also turn dangerous quickly. 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings happen every year, many occurring during the warm summer months.
From sprains, concussions, and broken bones to accidental drownings, it’s important to stay safe while enjoying the pool this summer. Here are some tips to ensure you keep having fun in the sun:
- Never leave your children unattended.
- Never swim alone.
- Make sure everyone in the pool knows how to swim.
- Enter the pool feet first, not head first.
- Don’t mix swimming and drinking alcohol.
- Be mindful of the weather and stay on land if there’s a storm.
Summer sports aren’t fun — they can be the source of many injuries, such as broken bones, muscle cramps and sprains, and concussions. Remember to always warm-up, avoid contact with other players, and seek medical attention if you’re injured.
Bees, yellow jackets, hornets, and wasps generally sting people in self-defense or to protect their nest or hive — especially in the summertime with plenty of flowers and plants in full bloom. Additionally, mosquitoes and ticks can transmit diseases such as Lyme disease and West Nile virus.
Though being stung may hurt, for most people, only a minor local reaction occurs. For those with venom allergies, bee and wasp stings may cause allergic reactions, known as anaphylaxis. Monitor your symptoms, and if you develop a severe reaction, seek medical attention immediately.
Food Preparation Tips
A great barbeque is a quintessential summer activity — but if food is left out for too long, your backyard bash could turn into a disaster. Food can spoil more easily in the hot summer weather, making proper food preparation essential. Use these tips to ensure your food is safe to eat:
- Avoid cross-contamination of food.
- Wash your hands and surfaces frequently when cooking.
- Cook your food to the right temperature.
- Refrigerate your food quickly after use or eating.
Burns and Cuts
Burns and cuts can happen for many reasons over summer, from campfires to barbeques and torches. While you can recover from a minor burn in most cases, sustaining a severe burn injury can be life-threatening and change someone's life forever.
First-degree burns affect the skin's outer layer with redness and no blistering, while third-degree burns are the most severe, with damage to the skin's epidermis and dermis, charring skin at the burn site. If you believe your wound needs medical treatment, visit our center for quick care.
Summer Emergency Care in Dallas
Though we hope you have a fun and safe summer, our team at Advance ER is prepared to take care of your family should an accident occur.
We have two Dallas-area locations to serve you in your time of need. Familiarize yourself with our locations here so that when the time comes that you need emergency services, you can get here quickly and we can serve you well!