LUMBERTON — Summer is the ultimate laid-back time — think flip-flops, T-shirts and barbecues.
Although it’s easy to be casual about many things in the summer, it’s not good to be casual about safety. With warm weather comes the risk for certain injuries and health problems, some serious enough to be life-threatening.
Here are some suggestions on how to stay safe:
— Secure home windows. Opening the windows is a must if you don’t have air conditioning or if you’re simply trying to keep your electric bill in check. But keep this in mind if children are in your home: Every year thousands of children in the United States are killed or injured in falls from windows. Screens can’t be depended upon to keep children safe. It is best to install window guards or window stops, especially on bedroom windows. They can be bought online or at hardware stores. Also, try to keep furniture away from windows to discourage children from climbing near windows.
— Make helmets a priority. Many children practically live on their bikes during the summer. Make sure they’re wearing a helmet. Helmets help reduce the risk of head injury, such as concussion and other traumatic brain injuries, and of death from bicycle crashes. Helmets also are a good idea when riding a horse or skateboard, batting or running bases in baseball or softball, or using in-line skates.
— Watch out for heatstroke. As the temperature rises, so does the risk of a heat-related illness. The most serious one is heatstroke, which is a medical emergency. Signs and symptoms include a body temperature of 103 degrees or higher; hot, red, dry or damp skin; a rapid and strong pulse; and possible unconsciousness. Call 911 immediately if someone has heatstroke. Move the person to a cooler environment, and try to bring his or her temperature down with cool cloths or a bath. Do not give the person fluids.
— Know the signs of anaphylaxis. This is a potentially deadly allergic reaction. The most common triggers are foods, insect stings and medications. Signs and symptoms may include a red rash (usually itchy) with hives or welts; swelling in the throat or other areas of the body; wheezing; and trouble breathing or swallowing.
Anaphylaxis requires immediate medical attention, including an injection of the drug epinephrine and a trip to the hospital emergency department.
In addition to Southeastern Regional Medical Center’s emergency department for life-threatening emergencies, Southeastern Health operates walk-in clinics for minor injuries and conditions. They are: The Clinic at Lumberton Drug, The Clinic at Walmart at the Lumberton Walmart Supercenter, Southeastern Heath Mall Clinic (with an on-site pharmacy and X-ray) on the campus of Biggs Park Mall, and Southeastern Urgent Care Pembroke, also with onsite X-ray services. To learn more, go to www.southeasternhealth.org.