Despite the enjoyment of spending time outdoors with family and friends during summer, there is a greater risk of injuries that may result in a trip to the emergency room. The reasons are simple — summer brings many new activities that can increase the chances of injury.
The good news? You can protect yourself and your family from the ER with a few precautions! Here are some of the most common causes of summer ER visits and how you can work to prevent them:
Contrary to popular belief, dehydration is not just a minor inconvenience. It can become a severe medical condition contributing to sunburn, heat exhaustion, and kidney infections.
What are the primary causes of dehydration? The answer is more simple than you think: not drinking enough fluids!
Symptoms of dehydration include:
- Dry mouth
- Nausea and vomiting
Dehydration can occur in anyone who spends prolonged periods without drinking water, so our primary recommendations for prevention include:
- Drink fluids every hour
- Eat foods high in water content
- Limit caffeine and alcohol intake
- Discuss any excessive sweating with a healthcare professional
If you feel that you are dehydrated, seek emergency care immediately. In addition to delivering fluids to your system via IV, your medical team will assist with managing dehydration symptoms.
Heat stroke is a serious condition caused by extreme temperatures. It can occur when the body's normal cooling process is overwhelmed by heat and humidity, causing its temperature to rise above the normal range, resulting in over 4,000 emergency room visits a year.
When heat stroke occurs, the body's core temperature rises so quickly that blood vessels near the skin are unable to regulate it, causing:
- Red, pale, and clammy skin
- Excessive sweating
- Loss of appetite
- Fast breathing
- Overly-high pulse rate
- Muscle cramps
Heat strokes can be prevented by:
- Monitoring time outdoors when it is above 90° Fahrenheit
- Staying hydrated
- Wearing loose and lightweight clothing
- Pacing yourself outside if exercising or working in the heat
If you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms of heat stroke, you should seek medical attention immediately.
With the summer season comes more activities! Whether you and your family are participating in leisure sports, swimming, jumping on the trampoline, or hiking, you are more susceptible to fractured bones when more active.
To prevent fractures, follow these tips:
- Support bone health by staying hydrated
- Do some stretching and warm-ups before strenuous exercise
- Cool down after activities
- Ensure you wear proper protection gear (such as knee pads or helmets)
- Wear shoes that provide adequate support
If you suspect you or your child has a fracture, seek medical attention immediately.
Spending long periods of time in the sun can lead to adverse consequences, particularly sun poisoning. Sun poisoning is a severe kind of sunburn, which happens when the sun's UV rays cause your skin to become inflamed.
Symptoms often include:
- Pain and tingling
- Excessive thirst
Luckily, there are easy ways to prevent sun poisoning! Excessive sun exposure can be avoided if you:
- Use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30
- Spend time inside or in the shade during midday hours, when the sun is the strongest
- Wear clothing to protect parts of your skin that aren't covered by sunscreen
While not exclusive to summer, food poisoning resulting in emergency room visits is most likely to occur during this time of year. This can be especially true during outdoor activities, such as barbecues or camping, when food is kept outside in the heat.
Exposure to heat can cause bacteria to grow more quickly, which is why it's essential to follow proper food safety guidelines:
- Thoroughly clean all food before cooking in hot water
- Never cross-contaminate during preparation or cooking
- Cook to safe temperatures
- Refrigerate food promptly
You may be experiencing food poisoning if you are:
- Experiencing diarrhea
- Feeling feverish
While summer is supposed to enhance our mood, it can do the opposite for some. In fact, mental health emergencies tend to rise with the heat across all ages, according to a study done by JAMA Psychiatry.
Some feel more depressed, anxious, or stressed during the summer months than other times of the year. Why is this?
- Summertime seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
- Body image stress
- Disrupted schedules
- Staying in due to excessive heat
We recommend the following to promote positive mental health during the longer and hotter days:
- Keep up with a consistent schedule
- Take time to unwind
- Maintain a healthy sleep schedule
- Talk to a professional
- Keep up with any routine medication you take for mental health
If you are feeling anxious, irritable, or restless, know that it is normal and completely acceptable to speak up and seek treatment at a healthcare facility.
Summer Emergency Care in Dallas
At Advance ER, we understand the urgency of an emergency. Our facility offers many advantages above a typical urgent care facility! First and foremost, there are no wait times here; an ER doctor will see you as soon as you come.
We are here to keep you and your family healthy 24/7, all summer long. For more information or to speak to a member of our expert staff, contact us online today or call (214) 494-8222.