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Summer Fun Brings More Emergency Department Visits

DAYTON, OHIO — (June21, 2009) — Today marks the official first day of summer. It also signals the start of one of the busiest times of the year for hospital emergency departments. More individuals are likely to make a trip to the ED between June and the end of August that any other time of the year. Many of these visits, however, could be avoided by just practicing good common sense, says Darin Pangalangan, MD, medical director of Miami Valley Hospital’s emergency department.
“For example anyone who rides a bike or an all terrain vehicle, skateboards or rollerblades needs to wear a helmet,” says Dr. Pangalangan. Studies show that wearing headgear can reduce the risk of a head injury by as much as 85 percent.

It is not smart to grill without using proper gear either. Serious burns caused by backyard grilling can be avoided by simply using long-handled barbecue utensils. Dr. Pangalangan also warns to use only approved lighter fluid to start grills. Never use gasoline to start a fire.

This summer, more than 75,000 Americans will be injured in lawn mower accidents. Even though lawn mowers today are built with many safety devices, most mower accidents are caused by careless behavior, says Dr. Pangalangan. Many lawn mower accidents occur when people remove debris from a mower that has not been turned off.

“A lawn mower does not know the difference between a blade of grass and a finger or a toe. So it’s up to users to stay away from moving parts,” says Dr. Pangalangan. “A moment of carelessness could lead to a lifetime of regret.”

It is also a good idea to clear the mowing area of rocks and sticks before cutting grass to minimize the risks of objects being thrown from the mower. A rock flung from a mower can travel between150 to 250 mph and can cause serious harm.

Summer only lasts about 90 days. Don’t spend even one of those days in the emergency department. When it comes to recreational activities, working around the house or entertaining with friends, always be mindful of safety to avoid a trip to the hospital.