How to Prevent Spring Injuries from Sidelining Your Family

Spring-Injuries5-FBMother Nature isn’t the only one who goes a little crazy in the spring. Family life gets a bit more hectic, too. Between the increase in daylight hours, a wide variety of sports and after school activities and a few holiday breaks thrown in for good measure, spring can be a challenging time to keep your family safe and healthy. So stick with us, because we’ve got your bases covered.

Tennis, anyone?

Wrestling, basketball, soccer, tennis, golf, track and field, softball and baseball are just some of the activity choices your kids have in spring. Sports promote physical fitness, self-confidence and team-building skills, but each one also comes with its own set of risks.

Every year, more than 2.6 million children end up in emergency rooms with sports-related injuries, including broken bones and torn ligaments, bumps and bruises, concussions, eye injuries, heat-related injuries, scrapes and scratches and sprains and strains.

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To help make sure your kids aren’t among those injured, follow these general sports safety tips.

  • Use proper equipment. Equipment and safety gear should be in good condition and approved by the organizations that govern each sport.
  • Inspect practice and competition areas. They should be free of holes, ruts and debris. High-impact sports should be done on forgiving surfaces, such as grass, synthetic rubber or wood, rather than concrete.
  • Insist on qualified adult supervision. The team coach should be trained in first aid and CPR, and all adults should place a high priority on safety.
  • Make sure your child is prepared. In addition to understanding the rules of the game and how to warm up and train, kids need adequate rest, proper nutrition and plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. Heat-related illnesses, including dehydration, heat exhaustion and heatstroke, are among the most common sports injuries — especially in hot spots like Texas.ice-heat-fastertx

When should you take your child to the ER with an orthopedic injury?

Most sports injuries can be treated with RICE — rest, ice, compression and elevation. If an injury affects your child’s basic functioning in any way — he can’t bend his wrist, is limping, or has symptoms of a concussion — administer basic first aid and then see a doctor. For more serious injuries, take your child to the nearest ER.

Corey Gill, MD, Medical Director of the Pediatric Orthopedics Program at Medical City Children’s Hospital, discusses when a child should go to the ER with an orthopedic injury or possible broken bone.

Jump in – the water’s fine.

Swimming and diving are also popular spring sports. Swimming can be a lifelong activity and a great, low-impact way to stay fit. Consider signing your kids up for swimming lessons as soon as appropriate so that they become comfortable around water and know what to do if they get in trouble. Here’s why:

Drowning facts:

  • Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death among children 1 to 4 years old
  • Most drownings in children 1-4 years old occur in home swimming pools
  • Among children 5-14 years old, accidental death by drowning is second only to motor vehicle crashes
  • Nearly 80% of people who drown are male
  • Drowning (called secondary or dry drowning) can occur up to 24 hours after swimming, so if your child exhibits symptoms such as consistent coughing, chest pain, trouble breathing or extreme fatigue after a day in the water, seek emergency medical treatment right away

Drowning doesn’t look like drowning.

The scary thing is, a person who is truly drowning (as opposed to someone experiencing aquatic distress) doesn’t behave as most of us expect. They are physically unable to move their arms, kick their legs, call for help or participate in their own rescue. Unless saved by a trained rescuer within 20 to 60 seconds, the person will submerge. Sadly, each year about 375 children drown within 25 yards of a parent or other adult. Sadder still, in 10 percent of those cases, an adult will actually see them drown without realizing what is happening.

Click on the image below  to watch an amazing interactive video series and see if you can spot the drowning child. It’s harder than you think.

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Put on your drunk goggles.

Spring poses challenges for parents of older teens and college-age kids, too, especially during spring break.

Binge drinking.

Binge drinking is alcohol consumption that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the legal limit of 0.08% or higher. That’s about 5 or more drinks for males and 4 or more drinks for females within a 2-hour period. Talk to your teens and pre-teens about peer pressure, drugs, alcohol and driving under the influence (or riding with someone who is). Here’s what you should know.

  • Binge drinking is most common among young adults aged 18 to 34
  • Most people who binge drink are not alcohol dependent
  • Binge drinking is twice as high among males as females
  • Binge drinkers are 14 times more likely to drive impaired than non-binge drinkers
  • About 90% of the alcohol consumed by people under the age of 21 is in the form of binge drinks

If your teens think a few drinks won’t impair their motor skills, you can purchase alcohol impairment simulation goggles — Google “drunk goggles.” They’re available in several BAC levels, including low, moderate and high.

Here’s what happened when Medical City Lewisville’s Manager of Trauma Services, Jennifer Turner, BSN, RN, recruited a volunteer and had her walk the line wearing the goggles.

Driven to distraction.

While binge drinking escalates during spring break, it can be a problem at any time of year. So can distracted driving, which is being called the new drunk driving because it’s on the rise whereas drunk driving fatalities in Texas have decreased over the last few years.

The worst culprit? Texting, because it requires using your eyes, hands and brain. Could you pass our texting and driving pop quiz?

In the video below, Matt Carrick, MD, Trauma Medical Director of Medical City Plano, talks about the dangers of distracted driving and says the best prevention is to put your phone down while in the car.

If spring injuries sideline your family this year, one of our many Medical City Healthcare emergency locations has you covered. With average wait times posted online, if you do have an emergency, you can spend less time waiting and more time on the moments that matter most.

Find a fast Medical City Healthcare ER near you.

Sign Up for the LifeSigns E-Newsletter

Know How to Avoid Water Injuries and Illnesses

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From spotting a drowning child to recognizing swimmer’s ear, we’ve got you covered.

Summer in North Texas is in full swing and hopefully our Shark Week tips helped keep your little ones safe in the water. But wouldn’t you know it, there are plenty of other hazards in our pools, creeks, lakes and oceans that should concern us. Including, for starters, water itself. Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death in children, as one Dallas father nearly learned the hard way.

Then there’s the stuff in the water we can’t see — including bacteria and chemicals — that can cause a host of recreational water illnesses, or RWIs. These include common infections such as swimmer’s ear and the rare but potentially deadly effects of flesh-eating bacterium.

So grab your life vest and stick with us. We’ll show you how to keep your family water-safe so you can enjoy what’s left of summer.

Spot the drowning child.

Could you? It’s harder than you might think.

Thankfully for one father, the staff at his son’s swim camp was able to spot and rescue 4-year-old Kerem in time. Here’s Dallas resident Berk Guvelioglu’s story:

My wife and I wanted our son to learn to swim, so we found a swimming day camp at a local school and enrolled him. One week into the program, we got a call from the camp director telling us that Kerem had experienced some breathing problems. We rushed to the school and then to Medical City Children’s Hospital in Dallas to find that Kerem had been pulled out of the pool in near-drowning condition.

He stayed in the hospital for 8 days; 5 in the ICU. We were very fortunate because Kerem recovered fully; he’s now a healthy 8-year-old. But being that our son nearly drowned in a swimming class, we’ve accepted the fact that water is inherently risky. We’ve learned to think of water safety in terms of layers.

Also, you need to maintain a line of sight on your children and realize, as in most drowning cases, there is no yelling or screaming — they are very quiet.

For more pool safety tips from Berk, watch his full video below.

Now that you have an idea of what to look for, see if you can spot the drowning child (by clicking on the one you think is in trouble) before the lifeguard does.

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Flesh-eating bacteria and other RWIs.

According to the CDC, recreational water illnesses can be caught through contact with contaminated water in swimming pools, hot tubs, water parks, water play areas, interactive fountains, lakes, rivers or oceans and include a variety of infections:

  • Diarrheal illnesses
  • Rashes
  • Ear infections
  • Respiratory infections
  • Chemical irritation of the eyes and lungs
  • Flesh-eating bacterial illnesses from the Vibrio bacterium

Ok, we added that last one to the CDC’s list, but given the recent problem in Texas’s waters, we thought it worth mentioning. Cases of Vibrio are extremely rare and most people who come in contact with it won’t develop symptoms. Experts recommend avoiding swimming with open wounds and ingesting raw seaweed to reduce the risk of infection.

Swimmer’s ear.

Swimmer’s ear, or otitis externa, is much more common but easily prevented and treated. This condition results from inflammation, irritation or infection of the outer ear.

Symptoms of swimmer’s ear include:

  • Pain, especially if you pull on the outer ear
  • Itching of the ear or ear canal
  • Drainage from the ear, which may be yellow or yellow-green and pus-like or foul smelling

The American Academy of Otolaryngology cites moisture in the ear canal — from baths, showers, swimming or other humid environments — as a common source of infection. If left untreated, the condition can cause recurring ear infections, spread to other parts of the ear, and eventually lead to hearing loss.

Prevent swimmer’s ear:

  • Avoid swimming in polluted water
  • Use ear plugs when swimming (or bathing, if your child is prone to ear infections)
  • Dry ears with a dry towel or hair dryer (on low setting at least 12 inches from ears)
  • If your child has problems with wax buildup, have ears cleaned periodically by a medical professional
  • Never use cotton swabs to clean ears — they only pack wax and debris deeper into the ear canal

Treat swimmer’s ear:

  • Apply over-the-counter ear drops after swimming (and before getting in water to help prevent swimmer’s ear) or make homemade drops with equal parts white vinegar and rubbing alcohol
    • The vinegar will prevent bacterial growth and the alcohol will dry the ears
    • Lie down on side with affected ear facing up, fill ear with drops until full
    • Remain lying down for several minutes so the drops can be absorbed
    • Roll over and repeat to other ear
  • See your doctor if you suspect an infection; antibiotics may be needed

Medical City Healthcare wishes you and your family a water-safe summer, but if you find yourself in over your head, one of our many Medical City ER locations across North Texas can throw you a lifeline. With average wait times posted online, if you do have an emergency, you can spend less time waiting and more time on the moments that matter most.

Find a fast Medical City ER near you.

Sign Up for the LifeSigns E-Newsletter

Sources/Links
https://cgis.glo.texas.gov/Beachwatch/
https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000622.htm
http://www.entnet.org/content/swimmers-ear
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/swimmers-ear/manage/ptc-20201568

How to Keep Kids Safe This Summer with Pool Safety Rules

Pool-Safety-FBThe warm weather of summer heralds the start of pool season, and unfortunately, young swimmers end up in the hospital every year. Childhood drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death in children age 1-4 and the second-leading cause in ages 5-14, which means countless lives can be saved every year by learning and following strict pool safety rules.

The RESPECT set of guidelines will give you a comprehensive plan for keeping kids safe around water. This stands for:

Recognition
Education
Supervision
Physical Barriers
Expectations
Communication
Training

Recognition – This means knowing the signs of a non-swimmer, such as someone in a pool who is tired, in distress, or on the verge of drowning.

Education – You need to know the conditions of the environment, the water, and the abilities of each swimmer. Be aware that drowning is a very real threat anywhere, anytime.

Supervision – Swimmers need active, direct, and constant supervision. They are the only priority of whoever is tasked with watching them.

Physical Barriers – You must have fences and locked gates as required by law. You also need to utilize pool covers and alarms to prevent unguarded access.

Expectations – Be aware of your (and other swimmers’) physical limitations. Understand the environment to anticipate any potential problems.

Communication – Make sure everyone in the pool is aware of what kinds of activities are acceptable and which create risks.

Training – Make sure those who are around the water know the basics of swimming, including supervisors. Training also can include first aid and CPR.

The American Red Cross offers a number of CPR, first aid and water safety classes in the North Texas area.

If you have a pool, you should have a rescue pole with a life hook and life preserver readily available for emergencies. The first attempt at a rescue should use these devices so that the potential for another person to need emergency assistance is minimized.

Secondary Drowning or Dry Drowning

Secondary drowning and dry drowning are also concerns when kids are spending time in water. Secondary drowning occurs when water gets into a child’s lungs and builds up, causing a condition called pulmonary edema. Dry drowning happens when water only reaches as far as a child’s vocal cords, causing them to spasm and close up.

Both conditions can cause immediate breathing trouble to up to 24 hours later. If after spending time in the water a child has consistent coughing, chest pain, trouble breathing, or extreme fatigue, it’s vital to provide him or her with emergency care.

Follow these steps, and you and your family will have a fun and safe time in, and around the pool, this summer!

If someone in your family gets in over their head, one of our many Medical City ER locations across North Texas has you covered. With average wait times posted online, if you do have an emergency, you can spend less time waiting and more time on the moments that matter most.

Find a fast Medical City ER near you.

Sign Up for the LifeSigns E-Newsletter

Sources:
http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Water-Safety/waterinjuries-factsheet.html
http://www.webmd.com/children/features/secondary-drowning-dry-drowning

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Fun in the Sun – Weekend Safety

 Summer Weekend Safety Tips

Summer offers many opportunities for weekend fun – especially this long holiday weekend. It’s become tradition to spend this time under the sun and in the water, welcoming the arrival of the warm weather. But with this celebrating comes an increased risk for injuries, so making safety a part of your summer weekend plans is essential.

On the Water

Whether boating, tubing, skiing or swimming, once you are in the water, you need to be thinking about safety for yourself and everyone around you.

  • Don’t swim alone. Make sure someone is near in case you encounter trouble.
  • If boating, follow all posted regulations for watercraft – speed, direction and ski zone rules are there to keep visitors alive.
  • ALWAYS wear your personal floatation device. Make sure all straps are connected and pulled tight so that the device fits securely. Also, make sure it isn’t too large or small for the wearer’s body.
  • Never take your eyes off of children who are in the water.

Under the Sun

fun-in-the-sun-summer-safetyIt’s finally time to enjoy the sun! Just make sure you don’t enjoy too much of it.

  • Use SPF 30 or higher sunscreen. Damage from the sun occurs before you feel the pain, so don’t take any chances. Remember to reapply every two hours, covering all parts of the body exposed to the sun.
  • Children can have reactions to certain chemicals in sunscreen, so have them wear a sunscreen that uses titanium dioxide or zinc oxide (sometimes referred to as UVA/UVB physical sunscreens).
  • Don’t apply spray sunscreen directly to the face. Spray it into your (or your child’s) hands, then spread it on the face.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids to make sure you aren’t running the risk of dehydration.
  • Wear a hat and sunglasses – this will further reduce sunburn risk and the chance for eye damage, and will help you stay alert so you can react quickly in very bright conditions.

Alcohol Safety

Everyone knows about the dangers of drinking and driving, and this is certainly no time to attempt such a hazardous (and illegal) activity. However, excessive alcohol consumption during weekend activities can be just as dangerous, so make intelligent choices if you choose to drink while enjoying the weekend.

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