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June 2011 CHC of New England

Summer Safety - Tips to Staying Safe and Healthy this Summer

It's summertime, and that means it's time to go outside and enjoy the weather.

The return of warmer temperatures brings thoughts of freedom, relaxation, exploration and being closer to nature. Whether you're relaxing in the backyard, turning up your garden, enjoying the pool or exploring the great outdoors, here are some ways to help keep you and your family healthy this spring and summer.

Sun Safety: The Key to Skin Cancer Prevention

Most skin cancers can be prevented if children and teens (and adults, too) are protected from ultraviolet (UV) rays. Just a few serious sunburns can increase your child's risk of skin cancer later in life. Kids don't have to be at the beach to get too much sun. Their skin needs protection from the sun's harmful UV rays whenever they're outdoors.

To protect yourself and your family—

  • Seek shade, especially during mid-day hours.
  • Cover up with clothing to protect exposed skin.
  • Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade the face, head, ears and neck.
  • Wear sunglasses that wrap around and block as close to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays as possible.
  • Put on sunscreen with sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher, and both UVA and UVB protection.

The UV rays from tanning beds and sunlamps are as dangerous as the UV rays from the sun. Don't let your children or teens use them. Many states restrict the use of tanning beds by children and teens.

The most dangerous form of skin cancer, melanoma begins in a type of skin cell called a melanocyte. Click here to read more… http://cancerresearch.org/resources/conquering-melanoma.html

Water Safety

Summer at its best involves swimming and other water-related activities. Swimming is the third most popular recreational activity in the United States and the most popular recreational activity for children.

If you've never learned to swim, now's the time to learn. And it's always a good time to learn CPR—Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation—especially if you'll be supervising others.

Find a CPR Class
From online courses to training kits to classroom training at convenient locations, the American Heart Association makes it easy to find a CPR class to meet your needs. Click here
http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/CPRAndECC/FindaCPRClass/Find-a-CPR-Class_UCM_303220_SubHomePage.jsp

Always supervise young children around water. Prevent water-related injuries and drowning by swimming with a buddy and swimming where there's a lifeguard. And always use life jackets and secure personal flotation devices—do not substitute air-filled or foam toys for safety gear.

The following tips can help people with epilepsy stay safe during recreational activities:

  • Wearing a life vest is a good idea when you are on or close to water.
  • Swimming can be safe and fun for everyone, but if you have seizures, avoid swimming alone.
  • Tell lifeguards and friends you swim with what kind of seizures you have, how to recognize them and what to do if you have one. Make sure they swim well enough to help if you need it.

Around the Yard

Pollens and air pollutants can be triggers for allergic reactions and asthma. Some reactions include nasal and sinus allergies and hives. Asthma can cause symptoms such as wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and coughing. Stay healthy by properly taking any prescription or over-the-counter allergy medicine and having and following an asthma action plan.

Air pollution poses a serious threat to our nation's health.  At the American Lung Association, we work to ensure that the air you breathe is clean and safe.  Learn more about how polluted air can make you sick and how we are fighting to keep our air and nation healthy. Click here to read more… http://www.lungusa.org/healthy-air/

A sandbox is a fun place for you and young children to play, but know that a cat sees that sandbox as a litterbox. So, keep the sandbox covered to protect young children from toxoplasmosis, a parasite that people can get from contaminated cat feces (stool).

Don’t forget to stay cool and well-hydrated. Enjoy the great outdoors, and have a safe and healthy summer!

Beware of Bugs

Warmer temperatures aren't just attractive to people. Mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and other insects thrive in warmer weather, and they can transmit West Nile virus, Lyme disease and other illnesses. Using an appropriate insect repellent and applying it properly allows you to continue to play and work outdoors with a reduced risk of mosquito and tick bites. To protect yourself from tick bites, avoid tick-infested areas and use repellent containing DEET. After you have been outside, check your body, your clothing, your children and your pets for ticks. Consult your healthcare provider if you become ill in the 1-3 weeks following a bite.  

Summertime Food Safety

Nothing says summer like picnics, grilling and eating outdoors. To help prevent food poisoning, be sure to follow four food safety steps: Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill. When grilling, always use a meat thermometer to ensure that meats reach the minimum internal cooking temperature. Also, put cooked meat on a clean platter, rather than back on the one that held the raw meat, to avoid cross-contamination. Always wash your hands after handling raw foods of animal origin.

Don't let food sit out for more than two hours. On a hot day (90°F or higher), reduce this time to one hour. Be sure to put perishable items in a cooler or insulated bag.

Fireworks Safety

Firecrackers and sparklers, lots of BBQ and grilled hamburgers and hot dogs are some of the ways we celebrate the holidays. Cautions about fireworks are always important, especially around celebrations and cookouts when most fireworks injuries occur.   Many communities have fireworks displays that are handled by professionals. Avoid common fireworks injuries and leave all fireworks to the professionals. 

Fireworks Pose Dangerous Risks, Especially to Children. Click here to read more…

http://www.preventblindness.org/news/releases/062509_1.html

Fireworks are often a part of special times like the 4th of July and New Year’s Eve. But fireworks can be dangerous. In 2008, an estimated 7,000 people—an average of more than 19 people every day—were treated in emergency departments for injuries sustained from fireworks, and more than half of those injured were children. Whenever you celebrate, learn how to protect yourself and those you care about from fireworks–related injuries.

How can fireworks injuries be prevented?

  • The safest way to prevent fireworks-related injuries is to leave fireworks displays to trained professionals.

How big is the problem?

  • In 2008, seven people died and an estimated 7,000 were treated in emergency departments for fireworks-related injuries in the United States.

Who is most at risk for fireworks-related injuries?

  • More than two out of every three fireworks-related injuries in 2008 occurred between June 20 and July 20. During that time period:
    • Children and young adults: More than 4 of every 10 people injured were children under 15 years of age.
    • More than half (58%) of all injuries from fireworks occurred among young people under twenty years of age.
    • Males: more people injured by fireworks were male.

  • People actively participating in fireworks–related activities are more frequently and severely injured than bystanders.

What kinds of injuries occur?

  • Between June 20 and July 20, 2008:
    • The body parts most often injured were hands and fingers (1,400 injuries), eyes (1,000 injuries) and legs (900 injuries).
    • More than half of the injuries were burns. Burns were the most common injury to all body parts except the eyes and head areas, where bruises, cuts and foreign bodies in the eye occurred more frequently.

  • Fireworks can cause blindness, third degree burns and permanent scarring.
  • Fireworks can also cause life-threatening home and motor vehicle fires.

Burn Treatment

First Aid for Burns

Remove the burned area from the heat source.

Immediately flood the burned area with COOL water for 15-20 minutes. Do not put ice, butter, lotions or any other substances on the burn.

For burn injuries that are serious or cover a large area of skin, call 911 for help.

Safety Working Outdoors

Outdoor jobs expose workers to heat stress and ultraviolet (UV) radiation, poisonous plants and creatures, and pest-borne diseases. Appropriate training and adequate protection can go a long way toward keeping workers safe outside.

Each change of season brings its own challenges for outdoor workers. Here are seven suggestions to help you stay a bit safer as you work.

  1. Schedule your workload. While you can't always choose your hours or work locations, you may be able to plan your workload to avoid overheating. Schedule your heaviest work for the coolest parts of the day. In the summer, sunlight exposure is greatest between 10 AM and 4 PM. Take your breaks during those hours and when you do, find someplace cool and shady to rest. Try to move throughout the day to work in shaded areas and avoid the direct sun whenever possible.
  2. Get into summer fashion. Wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses with side panels and pants tucked into socks may not get you on the fashion runway, but they can prevent any number of burns, stings and bites. Full-length pants and long-sleeved shirts reduce bites from
  1. mosquitoes and ticks and minimize skin contact with poisonous plants. Hats and sunglasses protect your skin and eyes from the sun's UV radiation.
  2. Know your plants. Poison oak, ivy and sumac are found throughout the United States. The sap oil from these plants can cause painful allergic reactions. Learn to identify local varieties of poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac so that you can avoid them as you work outside. Wear long sleeves, long pants, boots and gloves to shield your skin from contact.
  3. Drink enough of the right things. When it's hot, you have to be careful to drink enough. Hard work and high temperatures lead to quick dehydration. Drink before you get thirsty. If you are thirsty, you are already beginning to dehydrate. Avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol and large amounts of sugar. Water is still the best thirst quencher, but if you are sweating a lot then drink a sports beverage to help replenish your electrolytes and prevent heat cramps.
  4. Slather yourself in sunscreen. Wear sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 15. SPF refers to the amount of time you will be protected from a burn. An SPF of 15 will allow a person to stay out in the sun 15 times longer than they normally would be able to stay without burning. Sunscreen performance is affected by wind, humidity, perspiration and proper application. It should be reapplied at least every two hours. Some sunscreens lose their efficiency when used with insect repellent. Also, their potency diminishes over time, so throw away bottles of sunscreen that are more than 2 years old.
  5. Respect the creepy crawlies. Tall grass, leaf litter, rocks, wood piles and bushes are favorite hiding places for spiders, ticks and snakes. Where possible and practical, stay clear of these areas. Wear gloves when handling brush or debris. Wear boots, pants and long sleeves when working in tall grass or underbrush. Cut grass and remove dried leaves from around the worksite to reduce tick populations. Be cautious near piles of undisturbed materials where snakes or spiders may be. Store unused apparel and equipment in tightly closed plastic bags. An additional spider caution: they are often found living in outdoor toilets where flies are abundant.
  6. Watch out for your co-workers. Monitor your own physical condition, but also keep an eye on your co-workers. Learn the symptoms of heat-related illness, and watch for them in yourself and others. Be aware that protective clothing or personal protective equipment may increase the risk of heat stress. Also, brush up on your first aid so you can help a co-worker who may need immediate help if suffering from heat stroke. You and your co-workers can also help each other by inspecting for hard-to-spot creatures. Ticks in particular can be difficult to see, especially on your own body. Help each other inspect skin, hair and clothes for unwanted passengers.

S.A.F.E.T.Y Tips at Work

Since the tragedy of September 11th, many Americans have been involved in practicing evacuation drills as corporations, government agencies and other buildings update current emergency procedures. Easter Seals encourages people with all abilities to consider these s.a.f.e.t.y first tips when preparing for an evacuation:

Start preparing an evacuation plan now. If you have a disability, identify yourself to building managers and help devise an effective emergency procedure. People of all abilities must be equally prepared for an emergency evacuation. It is critical that everyone works together.

Ask family, friends and co-workers with disabilities — including those with vision, hearing and mobility issues — about their personal evacuation concerns and needs. Keep in mind that the needs of pregnant women, older adults and people with injuries or illnesses are often similar to specific needs of people with disabilities.

Find "buddies." These can be co-workers or friends with whom you plan and practice. Buddies find you in an emergency and can provide planned assistance in the event of an emergency or evacuation.

Evaluate the area. Pre-determine and practice your evacuation route with your buddies, who also know how to operate any special equipment needed to evacuate someone safely.

Test smoke detectors, public announcement systems, fire extinguishers, flashlights, etc. to assure proper function when needed. Make sure alternate alert systems are available for individuals with special needs, especially for people with vision and hearing disabilities.

You can help Easter Seals by making this important issue top-of-mind in your community — talking to business leaders, building management, government officials, police and fire departments.

Across the country, safety and evacuation procedures are more important than ever, especially for 54 million Americans living with disabilities. Most existing evacuation procedures do not really address the specific needs of people with disabilities

With more than 85 years of experience helping people with disabilities gain greater independence and 50 years as a leader in creating architecturally accessible environments, Easter Seals is uniquely positioned to address the safety concerns of Americans with disabilities and bring about positive change in our communities.

To learn more, please visit www.easterseals.org.



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