When you think of summer, you may think of fun times on the beach, out on a boat or barbecuing in the back yard. However, each summer, common injuries send countless numbers of Sussex County residents and visitors to Beebe’s Emergency Department. Here are some tips to help you avoid the emergency room this summer.
Pay attention at the beach
Emergency teams continue to see surf injuries, which range from back and neck injuries to shoulder injuries. Surf injuries happen when beachgoers are not watching the surf. They may turn their backs for a minute and be knocked down by a wave. There are also a number of people treated for neck injuries from diving in shallow water.
Be sure to know your surroundings, pay attention to waves, swim in areas supervised by a lifeguard when possible and don’t dive into unknown water.
Wear your helmets
The number of bicycle-related injuries always goes up when the weather gets warmer and this year is no exception. If you are not used to bicycling every day, be sure to test your equipment before going out on a long ride. Also, always wear a helmet. Numerous injuries are caused simply because a cyclist isn’t wearing a helmet.
Injuries can also happen when cyclists are not paying attention to their surroundings. Never text and cycle. Look behind you before turning. Remember that cyclists are to follow the same rules of the road that drivers follow. So that means stopping at stop signs, signaling before turning, etc.
Consider your shoes as well. Flip-flops can easily get caught in pedals or chains and cause you to fall. Wear sneakers or other shoes that protect your feet. If you are riding at night, wear light-colored or reflective clothing, be sure to have a light or two so that you are visible to motorists, and never drink and bike.
Fish hooks and sharp objects
Many of our residents and visitors enjoy fishing from the beach at the state park. This is a great activity that brings out many families. However, know that this is a surfing beach, and often fish hooks can be lost here.
If you or your children are wading in the surf, it is a good idea to wear a water shoe or other protection for your feet to prevent being cut by an old fish hook or other sharp metal object. In addition to dealing with a cut, you may also need to get a tetanus shot.
Falls, falls, falls
Topping the list of common summer injuries are falls. Visitors check into their rental home, start unpacking and in less than a few hours they end up in the emergency room because of a fall.
In many cases, the kids are jumping on beds while the parents are unpacking, and either the child falls off the bed, hits his or her head on a low ceiling, or bumps into a sibling. And, they end up at Beebe with a head injury.
In other cases, adults who are unfamiliar with new surroundings take a tumble at night while moving around a dark home.
If you are visiting us this summer, please make sure to place night lights around the home to help you navigate at night. And, warn your family and friends that many injuries happen within the first several hours of arrival.
What did Mama Monkey’s doctor say? No more monkeys jumping on the bed!
Find out more about Beebe’s plans to create a year-round free-standing Emergency Department south of Millville at www.nextgenerationofcare.org.
Dr. Kevin Bristowe, MD, is a doctor with Sussex Emergency Associates in Beebe’s Emergency Department. He is the medical director of Emergency Services.
By Dr. Kevin Bristowe