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Another Adventure-Packed Summer

Explore safely with tips from the BGH Emergency Department

By Kristin Carlson, Marketing Specialist, Bonner General Health

Another summer equals endless adventures on that summer in Sandpoint to-do list. Hiking, biking, swimming, boating, camping, rock-climbing, outdoor gatherings, and enjoying the spectacular views. Being mindful of our surroundings and taking extra steps of caution can reduce the risks of an unexpected injury.

“Some of the most common preventable injuries we see in the Emergency Department are head injuries, ranging from minor injury to major trauma, from a bicycle, motorcycle, or ATV/UTV accidents. So wearing a helmet could make a big difference”, said BGH Emergency Department Nurse Rob McGregor.

“My best advice for preventing injury, in addition to wearing a helmet, is to be aware of your surroundings when participating in activities; quickly scan the area for any major hazards that could be avoided. Also, wear proper footwear. We see a lot of injuries from trip and fall due to very poor footwear. Even in the heat of summer, wear sandals with straps rather than flip-flops. Lastly, drink less alcohol and more water during activities. Dehydration can lead to weakness and falls.”

Additional Summer Safety Tips:

  • Water Safety: Drowning is the #1 cause of death in children 1-4 years old. Wear a life jacket, swim with a buddy, supervise children around the water and limit your distractions. All swimmers should remember to follow the rules at the pool or beach and always check the weather before swimming or boating.
  • Buckle Up: “Motor Vehicle Crashes are the highest mechanism of traumatic injury we see at our ED in the summer months.” – Marian Martin, Emergency Department Manager. So whether it’s a road trip or driving around town, ensure all occupants of your vehicle are wearing a seat belt properly, including those in car seats.
  • SPF: Protect your skin with sunscreen daily, often reapplying when outdoors. Protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses will also help prevent sunburn.
  • First Aid: Bringing a first aid kit on your outdoor adventures can reduce the risk of infection and the severity of an injury. If you are inexperienced, try an introductory first aid course.
  • Pedestrian/Bike Safety: Use sidewalks and crosswalks where available, map out your destination and take the safest route, wait for pedestrian signals at traffic lights, and use hand signals and bike lights when necessary.

Where to go?

In the event of injury or illness, knowing where to go can make all the difference. The Emergency Department is the right choice if you or a family member is experiencing a life-threatening illness or injury. You will want to go to the Emergency Department to treat:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Any symptoms of stroke: face drooping, slurred speech, arm weakness, sudden vision trouble, or sudden trouble understanding simple statements.
  • A major burn
  • Persistent chest pain that radiates to your arm and may also include sweating, vomiting, or shortness of breath
  • Severe head injury
  • Coughing or vomiting blood
  • Severe pain in your chest or upper abdominal pain, or pressure
  • If you are more than 20 weeks along, pregnancy complications include contractions/labor with bleeding, leaking fluid, or decreased fetal movement.

Children should be brought to the Emergency Department if they are experiencing:

  • Head injury
  • Significant bone or soft-tissue injuries
  • High, persistent fever (38.5°C or 100.4°F)
  • Persistent vomiting or diarrhea
  • Considerable lack of fluid intake (especially in a younger child)
  • Substantial changes in the child’s activity level

If an injury is not life-threatening, an Immediate Care Clinic visit may be appropriate. Immediate Care Clinics can treat:

  • Cuts, Bruises, and Minor Lacerations
  • Earache, sore throat, and fever
  • Minor Burns and Skin Infections
  • Sprains, Strains, and Simple Fractures
  • Upper Respiratory Infections, Bronchitis, and Sinusitis

Have fun and stay safe! We hope you won’t need us, but we are here if you do.

For a complete list of services provided by Bonner General Health, visit our website www.bonnergeneral.org.

This article was written for publication in Sandpoint Living Local – July/August 2022 Edition.

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