Nothing says summer in North Texas quite like the blazing hot sun, barbeque sauce dripping from your chin and a holiday get-together. Summer can be a time to reconnect with family, friends and nature, but some of the season's most enjoyable activities pose hidden risks. Avoiding these summer holiday health hazards takes a bit of planning, but a safe and happy time for everyone is worth the preparation.

Follow our safety tips to keep the good times rocking and rolling all summer long.

Burns and other injuries from fireworks.

Would you hand a child a blowtorch? Of course you wouldn’t—those things burn at 2,000°F. But sparklers can be every bit as hot, burning between 1,200° and 2,000°F. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), during the month around the July Fourth holiday, an average of 180 people go to the ER every day with fireworks-related injuries … more than 57% with burns. Of the approximately 10,000 fireworks-related ER visits in 2019, the CPSC estimates that 7,300 of them occurred between June 21 and July 21.

#CelebrateSafely by attending one of the many local fireworks shows in North Texas. If you do light them up at home, be sure to follow the CPSC’s fireworks safety tips.

Sunburns and skin cancer.

Ultraviolet (UV) rays are the No. 1 cause of skin cancer—by far the most common type of cancer. Many people mistakenly think a high-SPF sunscreen is all they need to minimize damage from the sun’s harmful rays. But SPF only provides protection against UVB rays—the ones that burn your skin. UVA rays—which penetrate the skin more deeply and cause lines, wrinkles, sun spots and skin cancer—require broad-spectrum protection.

Look for one that has an SPF of at least 30 and apply it liberally and often according to the American Academy of Dermatology’s guidelines.

Barbeque burns.

Is barbecuing an art or a science? Maybe a little bit of both. But apparently, there is an actual science to testing the heat of a grill with your hand. According to Weber: Place your flat palm 5 inches above the grill (the height of your favorite canned beverage) and count the number of seconds before you feel the urge to yank your hand away. Always pull your hand away before it hurts and be sure that nothing flammable, such as a sleeve, is dangling from your arm.

  • 2 to 4 seconds is HIGH heat (450 to 550°F)
  • 5 to 7 seconds is MEDIUM heat (350° to 450°F)
  • 8 to 10 seconds is LOW heat (250° to 350°F)
The summer months are the peak season for grill fires. Always start with a clean grill that has been inspected for leaks (gas grills). Use grills outdoors only, away from flammable objects, structures and trees. See the National Fire Protection Association website for more grilling safety tips.

Poolside accidents.

According to the American Red Cross, there is no such thing as dry drowning or "secondary drowning." They, the World Health Organization and the CDC discourage the use of these terms. Regardless of what it's called, we know that accidents and injuries in and around the pool can be devastating to families. Here are the only things that work to prevent them, says the Red Cross.

  • Swim lessons
  • Life jacket usage
  • 4-sided pool fencing
  • Swimming in areas with a lifeguard
  • Adequate supervision for children and adolescents by people who can perform
    • A safe rescue
    • CPR

Whether children display coughing, choking, breathing problems or other health issues during or long after swimming, call 911 or head to the nearest ER if symptoms don’t resolve quickly.

Alcohol, dehydration and heat-related illness.

In the spirit of summer, you might feel inclined to sip a cocktail or two, but overdoing the booze can have dangerous consequences. Drinking can increase your risk for swimming-, boating- and driving-related injury and death. Drinking in the heat increases your likelihood of dehydration. To reduce your risk, avoid the bar or alternate alcoholic beverages with water.

Non-drinkers (including minors) need to stay hydrated, too. Without adequate hydration, our bodies can't carry out their normal functions, and in severe cases, too little water can lead to heat stroke or even death. Wearing light-colored and loose-fitting clothing and finding a spot in the shade can help prevent dehydration and heat-related illness. Be especially cautious if you're going to be out in the midday sun; don't overexert yourself and take frequent breaks.

“Deadliest day” accidents and injuries.

Alcohol, motor vehicle crashes, boating accidents, drownings, heatstroke, burns, food poisoning, explosions. It’s not a Bruce Willis movie—it’s the Fourth of July in America, also known as the deadliest day of the year.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, more people are killed in motor vehicle crashes on Independence Day than any other day of the year. If you must drive during the holiday, keep in mind the most dangerous time to be on the road is from 6 p.m. on July 3 to midnight on July 5. Arrive alive by not drinking while driving, buckling up and avoiding distracted driving.

Medical City Healthcare provides comprehensive emergency services across North Texas.

At Medical City Healthcare, we're dedicated to the care and improvement of human life. So, we hope you'll Take Care!

For more information, call our Ask a Nurse hotline 24/7 or use Find a Doctor online.

You can also get care for minor injuries or illness at CareNow Urgent Care or visit Medical City Virtual Care for non-emergency medical treatment from your computer or smartphone.

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The post How to avoid these 6 hidden summer holiday health hazards appeared first on LifeSigns in 2019.