The summer months are a time to enjoy the great outdoors. This opportunity also comes with risks, however, and they need to be closely understood to prevent accidents. Even the family backyard can become a location for accidents and emergency room visits.
Anyone who has a trampoline, for instance, should know that they can be extremely dangerous. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated that in 2010, over 92,000 hospital room visits were due to trampoline accidents. In order to avoid injuries, families need to limit the number of people allowed on the trampoline at one time and make sure that an adult is always around to supervise. There should also be a safety net around the trampoline to keep children from falling to the ground.
The swing set also poses potential dangers. The set should be checked before children get onto it, to make sure that the normal wear and tear that it receives hasn’t created any dangers. Since wood can rot over the winter, the owners should check for decay as the summer starts. Bolts should be replaced if they are rusty and children should always be watched.
All of these suggestions will help families to have a safe time playing at home during the summer and to avoid emergency room visits to Dr. Josyann Abisaab and the many emergency room doctors like her.
According to a new study which was published last February in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, it is estimated that about 700,000 Americans visited emergency rooms due to poisoning related to the wrongful taking of prescription drugs in 2007. The estimated cost for this misuse of drugs was given as close to $1.4 billion, about 41% of which was paid for by either Medicare or Medicaid.
Aim of Study to Fight Drug Abuse
The study was produced out of Nationwide Children’s Hospital, at their Center for Injury Research and Policy in Columbus, Ohio, and was done as part of their efforts to more accurately quantify the problem of and focus in on trends that could help professionals to fight drug abuse in our society.
The director of the Center of Injury Research and Policy, Dr. Gary Smith, admitted being surprised by the size of the problem.
Rural Areas Hit Hardest
The study showed a large difference between urban and rural areas for overdoses among adults taking pain medications and psychotropic drugs. The most common age group for overdosing was the 35 to 54 range, with 3 times the number in rural areas.
Smith said that he could not explain why there was such a wide difference between urban and rural settings. It has been known, however, that at least in Ohio, “pill mills,” places where doctors prescribe large quantities of painkillers, have been of great concern in rural areas.
Children Also Victims
Among children, those five years old or younger had the largest number of accidental poisonings. In most of those cases it was found that children were playing with medicine which was prescribed for older relatives, or else taking too much of something that was meant for them or other children.
It was noted that syrups are especially problematic as far as children’s poisonings is concerned. Dr. Leslie Mihalov, the chief of emergency medicine at Children’s Hospital said that syrups which contain acetaminophen taste good to children, and they can easily drink down an entire bottle if no one is properly supervising them.
An easy way to prevent much of the inadvertent poisoning of children is to be vigilant in making sure that children do not have access to any medicines. As Dr. Mihalov said, prescription drugs should be kept out of reach and out of sight of children.
“I think the biggest problem is, elderly people or people who don’t have children in their home get those caps that are easier to open,” she said.
The problem is that children can often find medicines in Grandma’s purse, or they might fall out of Uncle’s pocket, to be swallowed by a child who does not know these things can be quite harmful.
The National Drug Abuse Warning Network believes that emergency visits due to prescription-drug abuse grew by twice from 2004 until 2008, from half a million visits to one million in 2008.
Dr. Josyann Abisaab is an emergency room physician practicing at New York’s Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital.
With Spring Break quickly approaching, it’s important to think about safety considerations for the family. The many ERs throughout the country, where doctors like Dr. Josyann Abisaab work, see frequent avoidable injuries and accidents at this time of year.
If you’re heading to the beach, make sure that all babies under six months of age are kept out of the direct sunlight. If the sun can’t be avoided completely, it is acceptable to apply a small amount of sunscreen to the baby. Whenever possible, dress babies in light weight clothing that covers their arms and legs and give them brimmed hats for protection.
ER doctors such as Dr. Josyann Abisaab often encounter unpleasant, remarkably painful and slow-healing injuries. One of the most common is a wrist or elbow fracture. People occasionally lose their balance or are knocked over while participating in a physical activity like skiing or mountain biking. Instinctually, they put out a hand or two to break their fall. This can easily result in a major gash or fracture which could take weeks or even months to heal properly. Occasionally physical therapy is needed, too. Sometimes the hand goes behind the body to break a backwards fall, which can result in an elbow injury as well.
There are a few things that can be done in advance to prevent such injuries:
1. Train your instincts. Practice falling on a safer surface, and train yourself to react by tucking in your chin and rolling with the initial impact. If you can, try to fall on the back of your shoulder as this is a strong area of your body.
2. Practice regaining your balance in a quick manner. Use a bike, or think of other ways to flex your balance muscles.
3. It is important to wear a helmet and wrist guards. They may seem foolish, but they really can make a significant difference in a fall.
Halloween is approaching, and already people can feel the excitement as they choose their costumes, make plans with trick-or-treat companions, and select pumpkins for their jack-o lanterns. Everyone is anticipating this fun, candy-filled night. Many ER doctors such as Dr. Josyann Abisaab and others have seen Halloween accidents first-hand, and, while Halloween night is certainly an exciting experience, parents are encouraged to be aware of the possible accidents that can occur.
The careful behavior should begin at home; children should not be allowed to carve pumpkins on their own. Pumpkin carvers, adults as well, should make sure to use a carving knife instead of a regular kitchen knife, so that their movements can be smoother and more controlled, even while cutting through the pumpkin’s thick skin. Also, make sure the handle of the knife is dry before it is used, to avoid slipping. If a cut on a finger or hand does occur, raise the area above the heart and apply direct pressure to the wound with a clean cloth. If the bleeding persists, a visit to the ER might be necessary.
Summer is a time when children have more time off and more time to explore and to enjoy. At the same time, emergency room doctors like Josyann Abisaab see a great deal of avoidable injuries in the summer. Keep these tips in mind as you enjoy your summer with your children.
Drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death among young children. Children shouldn’t be left unattended while in a bath, pool, lake or other body of water and home swimming pools should be protected and securely locked.
Since people drive more during the summer, there is an increased rate of car accidents. Make sure that children are always buckled and that they are always in the age-appropriate car seats while traveling. Heat and dehydration also cause a great deal of E.R. visits. Never leave a child in the car and keep kids well hydrated during the summer.
During the summer, there are a number of “typical” accidents that emergency room physicians like Josyann Abisaab see repeatedly. Planning ahead and paying attention to these danger areas can help to limit your exposure to the E.R. this summer.
Outdoor grills cause a great deal of accidents during the warmer months. It’s important for the grill to be thoroughly cleaned before it is used and for all tubes leading into the burner to be checked before usage. Don’t use the grill in a closed area such as a garage, carport or porch, or near a surface that can catch fire.
Drowning is, unfortunately, a common issue during the summer months. Avoid alcohol when swimming or boating and wear a lifejacket if you are going onto a boat. Keep your eye on your children at all times around water and never let anyone that you know swim alone. Certainly, all children should be taught to swim when they are old enough to do so.
Did you know that vehicle crashes are the number one cause of unintentional injury-related deaths for children under 14? Most of these accidents actually occur close to home, often when parents don’t bother to buckle a child since they are only driving a short distance.
ER doctors such as Josyann Abisaab will advise that you absolutely never turn on the engine to the car until everyone is buckled in – no matter how short the trip will be. In addition, air bags can kill and seriously injure children and children under 12 should always ride in the back. This is particularly true if the car has a passenger-side air bag.
Similarly, it’s essential to know which car seats to use for your children, and to use them correctly. Children who are under one and weigh less than 20 pounds need to be in rear-facing seats. The seat can be turned around when the baby is one and weighs between 20 and 40 pounds. Once your child reaches 40 pounds, he can be in a booster seat, and should remain so until he is approximately 80 pounds.