Safety Tips and Where to Go When you Need Medical Assistance.
By Kristin Carlson, Marketing Specialist, Bonner General Health
Our long-awaited summer is upon us. It’s why so many of us live here; the endless adventures that summer is Sandpoint brings. Hiking, biking, swimming, boating, camping, rock-climbing, dining outside, and enjoying the spectacular views; the opportunities are endless. But with more activities and more people out and about come more opportunities for accidents. 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. Wearing a helmet could have made 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 with activities. Simple dehydration can lead to simple weakness and falls.”
Additional Summer Safety Tips:
- Water Safety: The American Red Cross recommends the following safety measures around water: Never swim alone, utilize U.S. Coast Guard-approved life vests for young and inexperienced swimmers, always supervise children around water and limit your distractions (yes, that means your phone), in a group setting always designate one person to be the water supervisor to oversee activity in the water, and in a water emergency reach or throw an object to the person in trouble, do not jump in.
- SPF: Protect your skin with sunscreen daily, often reapplying when outdoors. Protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses will also help prevent sunburn as well.
- First Aid: Bringing a first aid kit on your outdoor adventures will help reduce the risk of infection and the severity of an injury if an incident occurs. If you are inexperienced, an introductory first aid course may serve you well.
- Pedestrian/Bike Safety: Sandpoint is a walking/biking town. We have the signs to prove it! Be sure you, your kids, and your friends take extra precautions around town. Use sidewalks and crosswalks where available, plan based on your destination and take the safest route, wait for pedestrian signals at traffic lights, use hand signals and bike lights when necessary.
Where to go?
In the event of injury or illness, knowing where to go will make the process of seeking treatment a little smoother. It is essential to choose the right level of care. 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 or jaw that 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 any of the following symptoms:
- Significant bone or soft-tissue injuries
- High, persistent fever (38.5°C or 100.4°F)
- Persistent vomiting or diarrhea
- Significant lack of fluid intake (especially in a younger child)
- Substantial changes in the child’s activity level
If an injury is not life-threatening, or any of the above mentioned, a visit to an Immediate Care Clinic 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
Whatever your injury or condition may be, there is a conveniently located resource available to get you treated and back on your way to enjoying another Sandpoint Summer Adventure.
Stay Safe. Be Cautious. Take Comfort Knowing Care is Available for the Just in Case.
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 Magazine – July 2021.