Common summer injuries and what to do about them

Heatstroke, sprains, strains, swimming/boating accidents, burns, cuts, rashes: When summer fun becomes summer ouch, here’s what you can do.

Summer is in full swing — don’t get sidelined by injury or illness this summer. Here are four of the top summer injuries and what to do about them.

Heat-related illness

The summer sun can feel great, but too much can wreck your holiday. Prolonged time outside in the sun without proper preparation can be dangerous and can lead to sunburn and dehydration.

Heatstroke is a dangerous condition and should be addressed immediately. Signs of heatstroke include:

  • Behavioral changes
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Lack of sweating

Heatstroke is a medical emergency and can cause loss of consciousness and damage to the heart, brain and kidneys — even death.

If you are around someone with heatstroke symptoms, call 911 immediately.

While you’re waiting for EMTs to arrive, move the person into the shade or a cool building, and help cool the body with fans, iced or wet towels, or a water hose.

“Be mindful of how much sun exposure you have and the temperature outside,” said Mary Rademaker, M.D., medical director for Norton Immediate Care Centers. “Wear sunscreen and reapply; drink plenty of fluids.”

Dr. Rademaker recommends sticking to mostly nonalcoholic beverages, because alcohol is dehydrating.

Summer sports are fun and provide great exercise, but you still need to take steps to say safe.

“We see a lot of wrist sprains, ankle twists and broken bones in Norton Immediate Care Centers,” Dr. Rademaker said.

Treatments for sprains, cramps and twists can involve home care — the “RICE” method of rest, ice, compression and elevation can help. Broken bones should be evaluated immediately.

You can prevent injury by warming up, stretching and wearing proper protective equipment. If you still find yourself in pain, pay attention.

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“If the symptoms keep getting worse or you develop new symptoms, see a health care provider,” Dr. Rademaker said.

Pools, lakes and the beach are all fun in summer, but it’s important to be careful.

“We see trauma from jumping into bodies of water or boating injuries,” Dr. Rademaker said.

Injury to unsupervised children is also common. Unfortunately, drowning is the second-most-common cause of death by unintentional injury in children, behind car accidents.

“You think that because there are a bunch of adults around, someone is watching the kids,” Dr. Rademaker said. “That isn’t always the case.”

Prevent drowning by designating specific people to watch children around bodies of water. Be sure small children have life vests or floatation devices. Know who in the group can perform CPR.

Burns, cuts and rashes

Summer months are full of camping trips, barbecues and fireworks displays.

“We see burns from grills, cuts from kitchen knives and accidents around campfires,” Dr. Rademaker said. “We see rashes from poison ivy and insect bites as well.”

Practice fire, cooking and grill safety by using oven mitts and tongs. Use fireworks responsibly and never let children light them. Bug spray and protective clothing can keep itchy bites to a minimum. Be sure to shower thoroughly and wash any clothing that might have come into contact with poison ivy, oak or sumac.

“Use your common sense,” Dr. Rademaker said. “If you can treat yourself at home, do so. But if you start feeling worse or you know something is really, really wrong, immediate care centers are available to help.”

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