Staying Safe on July 4th – Health & Safety Guidelines for Fireworks

Fourth of July celebrations will soon begin all across the country. The day – and the week surrounding it – is traditionally marked with food, fun, and plenty of fireworks. This last tradition can quickly turn dangerous. It is imperative that fireworks are handled with care and according to manufacturer instructions; otherwise, serious and even fatal accidents can occur. Much of the safety information about fireworks can sound like scaremongering, but the bottom line remains: fireworks are (imperfectly) controlled explosions, and they are dangerous.

If you want to stay safe during your Fourth of July celebrations, use the following safety guidelines to prevent eye injuries and other mishaps.

Keep Children at a Safe Distance

Keep children well away from lit fireworks at all times, no matter how much they want to closely watch the lighting process. The job should only be undertaken by an adult who has not been drinking, has a steady hand, and knows how to light a fuse quickly and safely. For safe lighting, fireworks need to be firmly planted in the ground or in a bucket of sand.

Deal With Dead Fireworks Properly

In any standard pack of fireworks, you might find that one or two malfunction and refuse to light. To prevent a serious fireworks injury, these “dead” fireworks should always be soaked in a bucket of water and moved out the reach of small hands. Until “dead” fireworks have been soaked in water, you should consider them active, as they can still ignite at any time.

Supervise the Use of Sparklers

The most common cause of eye injuries on July 4th is the unsafe use of handheld sparklers. Most people see them as relatively harmless, but the truth is that they burn at the extremely hot temperature of 2,000 degrees. Note that sparklers can be handled by young children, but they must be carefully supervised at all times. To handle a sparkler correctly, hold it away from the body, the eyes, and any potentially flammable materials.

Enjoy Fun in the Sun While Practicing Water Safety

Newport_Urgent_Care_Newport_June_Water_SafetyWith the summer months quickly approaching, people need to take extra, specific precautions to protect themselves and their loved ones from water hazards. Practicing water safety ensures that everyone can enjoy the fun of outdoor water activities with less risk. Learning about and enacting water-safe rules can prevent drownings and protect children and adults of all ages.

The first priority is making sure everyone in the family knows how to swim. The earlier a child learns to swim, the less likely it is that he or she will develop water phobias. The Red Cross offers swimming lessons and water safety instruction. Age-appropriate lessons can begin as soon as a child becomes a toddler.

Unfortunately, vacation is a prime time for water accidents like drowning. To prevent a water emergency, people should never swim alone or allow their children to swim in pools that do not have a lifeguard on duty.

Those who cannot swim should always wear a lifejacket — even in shallow water and no matter their age. Lifejackets save lives and are crucial for child safety. To ensure a lifejacket will be fully protective, people — especially small children — should be professionally fitted.

If a water emergency arises, it is crucial that people remain calm and follow these steps:

  • Call 911 immediately if a person is found to be unresponsive.
  • Remove the person from the water immediately and place them on their side.
  • Lean close to the victim’s face and check to see if they are breathing.
  • If the victim is not breathing, check for a pulse at the wrist or on the sides of the neck.
  • If no pulse is found, begin CPR and continue until the victim gains consciousness or EMT help arrives.

Though people of all ages are at risk for drowning, small children are particularly vulnerable. Parents should monitor their children around any type of water, and never allow other activities to distract them from keeping a close eye on the situation. Following these tips can help prevent children from drowning:

  • Young children can drown in as little as two inches of water. Drownings often happen where least expected, so children need to be closely monitored at all times.
  • Never assume a child knows how to swim. In fact — assume they do not. An adult swimmer should be within touch distance of any child who is swimming.
  • Coast Guard-approved life vests must be worn by children at all times, even if they are merely sitting or playing near a body of water.
  • Keep children hydrated by providing plenty of water while swimming. Dehydration can make a child dizzy and heighten their risk of drowning.

Following these water safety tips will help keep everyone out of harm’s way and ensure a fun, safe summer.

Take easy precautions to enjoy the sun while reducing cancer risks

Skin Care Prevention, Newport Urgent CareSoaking in the rays of warm summer sun lifts the spirit, lightens the mood, and gives your body a good dose of Vitamin D. But as beneficial as sunlight can be, moderation is essential to the prevention of various types of skin cancer, including melanoma.

The main cause of skin cancer is exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV) rays given off by the sun. The effects of exposure are cumulative — the more sunburns a person suffers, the more likely they are to develop skin cancer. More than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States, and more than 90% of those are caused by sun exposure. Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer.

A little knowledge and prevention is the key to safely enjoying the sun. Here are some easy tips to limit exposure:

  • Avoid being in the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Stay in the shade.
  • Use a sunscreen with a rating of SPF 15 or higher. Sunscreen absorbs, reflects, or scatters sunlights, depending on a particular product’s ingredients.
  • Apply the sunscreen about 20 minutes before exposure. Remember to use it on your scalp, ears, lips, neck, tops of feet, and backs of hands.
  • Reapply the sunscreen every two hours and after swimming or sweating.
  • Wear a hat and a shirt with long sleeves.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes and the sensitive skin surrounding them.
  • Watch your skin for changes. If a sunburn develops, get out of the sun.

While the sun’s UV rays are the strongest in late spring and early summer, watch sun exposure during every season and even on hazy, overcast days. Water, snow, and concrete can all reflect and intensify the sun’s rays.

Early detection is the best way to beat skin cancer should it develop. The most common symptom is an unusual change in the skin — a new growth, a mole that is different than before, or a sore that doesn’t heal. Detecting the changes in a mole or spot is as easy as remembering your ABCs:

  • Asymmetry. It is an odd shape and has two very different parts.
  • Border. The edge is irregular or jagged.
  • Color. The color is uneven.
  • Diameter. It is larger than a pea.
  • Evolution. It has changed in the last few weeks or months.

Any of these signs should be brought to the attention of a doctor.

For more information, contact Newport Urgent Care at 949-752-6300.

Spring into Sobriety

While you may view the month of April as a final goodbye to winter, it signifies more than just the start of spring. Since 1987, April has also been designated as Alcohol Awareness Month. According to the CDC, 51.3% of Americans over the age of 18 are considered to be regular drinkers, or someone who has consumed at least 12 drinks in the past year. Not only does this increase their risk of alcoholism, but it can have a significant impact on their physical and mental health, as well as the health of those who love them.

Moderation Is Key

Preventing alcohol abuse saves lives, and moderation is crucial for alcohol abuse prevention. Moderate alcohol use is considered safe; in most cases, moderation is considered to be up to 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink a day for women. This does not refer to an average over several days, but to the amount of alcohol consumed in one day.

Reach Out With Compassion

If you believe that a family member or close friend may have developed an addiction to alcohol, it is important to communicate openly with him or her regarding your concerns. Do so without anger or judgment. It is crucial to approach this topic when they are sober and in a location that provides privacy.

You should start the conversation by making it clear that you are doing this out of love for them and a true concern for their safety and wellbeing. You should be able to provide examples of times when his or her drinking has resulted in a problem. Stay calm and stick to the facts, even if the other person becomes upset.

If you fear that you are an alcoholic, you should discuss your concerns openly and honestly with someone who trust. Acknowledge that you believe you have a problem and ask for help.

Early Education on Alcohol and Addiction

If you are the parent or guardian of a teenager, it is important to understand that alcohol abuse prevention should start before it has the chance to be a problem. A study completed by The National Study on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found that people who have their first drink of alcohol before the age of 15 are 5 times more likely to abuse or become dependent on alcohol than those who are 21 or older at the time of their first drink. Alcohol abuse can have a tremendous impact on your teen for the rest of their life, so be open and provide the education they need.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, as of 2012, 17 million Americans over the age of 18 and 76,000 adolescents reported they had a problem with alcohol abuse. Don’t let someone you love become part of these statistics.