With Independence Day celebrations underway in advance of the 4th of July, Blount Memorial Hospital is urging everyone to take the steps necessary to have a safe and fun holiday.
Blount Memorial Hospital emergency department medical director Dr. Jason Begue says for anyone planning to use fireworks this week, safety should be a primary concern. “If you look at professionals who do these large fireworks displays, they always use safety glasses and safety gear,” Begue said. “They also make sure to keep people out of harm’s way by keeping them at a safe distance. These are things people also can and should do at home. Eye injuries tend to be the most-serious fireworks-related injuries we see, however, sometimes fireworks also can cause pretty significant burns. Remember that fireworks are not toys. They burn, explode and can travel a long way very quickly, so they definitely should be taken seriously,” he added.
The holiday weekend will likely also see many people heading to the water. “During the summer, in general, we often see accidents related to swimming,” Begue said. “A lot of times, people haven’t been swimming in the winter and spring months, and aren’t as good at swimming as they remember. Fortunately, people seem to have caught on to the idea of using lifejackets more frequently. However, any time you add alcohol or even drugs to the mix, a person’s judgment can be impaired, which can lead to riskier behavior on the water. That’s really when we see the most water-related injuries,” he explained. “Still, minor injuries can occur from something as simple as slipping on rocks and cutting your feet on something underwater that you couldn’t see. Also, always be aware of the depth of the water you’re in. You don’t want to jump or dive into water that’s too shallow,” he added.
And speaking of water, Begue says remember to drink plenty of it this weekend. “We see a lot of people who have gotten dehydrated from being outside. They’ve been working in the yard or exercising, and they’re simply not used to the heat and humidity. They haven’t been taking enough breaks, and they don’t realize how quickly dehydration affects you,” he explained. “It potentially can lead to other injuries, as well, if you fall or pass out from it,” he added.
“The important thing to remember is to use good, sound judgment,” Begue said. “Plan for the heat and humidity, and drink plenty of water. Remember that drunk driving, drunk boating and drunk swimming can all be dangerous or even deadly. Understand your surroundings if you’re going hiking or biking,” he said. “Good planning and good preparation are great steps you can take in advance to help everyone have fun and remain safe,” he added.