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Summertime and the Trauma’s Easy

Awww, summer! Warm weather, no school, family vacations… It’s the perfect time to kick back in a lawn chair and relax. Unfortunately, for the quick response team in the Stormont Vail Trauma Center, summer is anything but relaxing. In fact, adult trauma cases rise by 25 to 30 percent during the summer months.

Here are a few trauma incidents that increase in the summer and ways you can help protect yourself and those around you.

1. Bicycling-related injuries

Bicycling is a great way to exercise while also reducing your carbon footprint. However, cycling can be very dangerous. With about 80 million cyclists sharing the road with motorized vehicles, traumatic injuries are bound to occur.

Cyclists: Protect yourselves by wearing a helmet and proper reflective clothing. In addition, follow the rules of the road – stop at stop signs and stoplights, yield to pedestrians, use hand signals to indicate which direction you are turning, etc.

Motorists: Always be on the lookout for cyclists. You should allow at least three feet of space between your vehicle and their bicycle. In addition, you should always check your surrounding before opening your door (this is called being “doored” in the cycling world. Ouch!).

2. Yard work injuries

Many of us want the perfect lawn and are willing to put our blood, sweat and tears into caring for it. Unfortunately, some put too much blood into it.

Ladders: Every year, more than 164,000 people are injured from falling off a ladder. These injuries range from mild sprains and bruises to broken bones and severe head injuries. Ensure ladders are properly set up on even, stable ground. In addition, do not old or ill-maintained ladders, and always have someone below for support.

Lawnmowers: It’s satisfying to get outside and rev up the ol’ lawnmower on a warm summer day, but lawnmowers present a range of safety hazards. From cuts and amputated toes or fingers to ricocheting debris, lawnmowers account for more than 80,000 injuries every year.

Ensure that your lawnmower is well-maintained BEFORE starting it for the first time. You should have it inspected – change the oil, replace spark plugs, replace/clean air filter, sharpen blades, etc. Proper maintenance will not only keep your mower running longer, but also significantly reduce your risk of injury.

3. Animals and insects

The warm summer months mean more people will be out and about. This increase in outdoor activity also increases the likelihood of being traumatically injured by animals and insects.

Dog Bites: They may be man’s best friend but they also have sharp teeth. Dog bites result in thousands of visits to the hospital every year and children are the primary victims. While adults are more likely to be bit on arms or legs, children are more likely to be attacked at the head, face or neck. Learning how to approach dogs (even those on a leash) safely. Preventive Vet offers some valuable advice: preventivevet.com/dogs/how-to-greet-a-dog

Insect Stings: It may come as a shock but in a typical year, nearly 100 Americans die from bee stings. In fact, this number may be underestimated because bee stings are sometimes attributed to heart attack, sunstroke and other causes. Prevent insect stings by wearing light-colored clothing, avoiding perfumed soaps, shampoos and deodorants and avoiding flowers when possible.

4. Burns

“Here comes the sun and I say ‘put on some sunscreen!’” It may not have the same ring as the original song but let the message be heard. Burns are nothing to scoff at, little darling.

Grill: Stairs and the bathtub are the two most dangerous items inside your home, but outside, the grill reigns supreme. Grill fires on residential properties result in an estimated average of 10 deaths, 100 injuries and $37 million in property loss each year. Avoid grill injuries by being aware of children and pets in the grilling area. In addition, wear appropriate clothing while grilling – nothing you wear should hang over the grill. NEVER leave a lit grill unattended.

Sunburn: While most types of sunburn don’t require medical attention, there are cases of the sun causing third-degree burns. Protect your skin by slathering on an ample amount of sunscreen before venturing outdoors. It’ll help you avoid sunburn and reduce your risk of skin cancer.

Traumatic injuries can occur in a split second. Timely, specialized care can be the difference between life and death. Stormont Vail’s Level II Trauma Center is ready 24/7/365. Learn more about our life-saving services: stormontvail.org/health-care-services/centers-clinics-services/trauma-center

Fortunately, the majority of summer injuries are avoidable – or, at least, preventable. By following these tips and being aware of your surroundings, you can ensure you and your family has a safe, healthy and happy summer!

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