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Enjoy an injury-free Fourth of July: Here's how

Enjoy an injury-free Fourth of July: Here's how
You can enjoy the Fourth of July weekend without spending time in a Carle Health Emergency Department, Convenient Care, Express Care or in discomfort at home.

It’s all about having fun while using common sense to protect yourself, your family and your friends.

“We want everyone to celebrate our nation’s independence while keeping in mind the health and safety of yourself and those around you,” Laura Rose, MBA, BSN, RN, CCRN, director of inpatient nursing at Carle Health Pekin Hospital and director of critical care at Carle Health Methodist Hospital, Peoria, said.

Independence Day weekend, for many people, means time in the car, fun in the sun, enjoying a drink and lighting fireworks.

Common injuries from fireworks on and around the Fourth of July include burns to the hands, face and chest, Holly Cook, MSN, RN, CEN, TNS, Emergency Department director, Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana, said.

“Every year, our emergency services treat multiple injuries from fireworks,” Michael Smith, MD, FAEMS, associate medical director, Carle Regional EMS, said. “While the large majority are minor, we have seen both loss of limb and loss of life events from novices using higher-grade fireworks.”

Mixing fireworks with alcohol is never a good idea, Dr. Smith, also senior vice president and chief medical officer of Health Alliance, said. Overconsumption of alcohol is a major problem around Independence Day. If people would consume in moderation and act responsibly, there would be fewer additional issues around this holiday, Carle Health medical professionals said.

Alcohol abuse can lead to common Fourth of July-related injuries, including burns from fireworks, vehicle crashes and heat exhaustion.

“Leave fireworks to the professionals,” Lori Ritter, RN, trauma coordinator, Emergency Department, Carle BroMenn Medical Center, Normal, said.

Here are tips from Carle Health emergency medicine professionals to keep your Fourth of July weekend fun and safe:

  • If you use fireworks, never let children set them off, don’t hold a firework near your body and light one firework at a time.
  • Don’t re-light a malfunctioning firework. After using fireworks, soak them in water before throwing them out.
  • If you get a burn from a firework, cool down the area by holding it under cool water for 10 minutes or applying a clean, cool, damp cloth.
  • Don’t use cold water or ice because they can cause more injuries. Apply antibiotic ointment or aloe vera to the area and loosely cover with a bandage.
  • If redness or pain gets worse, go to a Carle Convenient Care location.
  • Call 9-1-1 or go to a Carle Health hospital Emergency Department if you experience an injury from a firework explosion, if you inhale a lot of smoke, if your burn chars your skin, if the skin around the burn is white, or if the burn covers a large area.
  • Heat exhaustion happens when the body can’t cool itself through sweating. Symptoms include high body temperature, pale skin, muscle cramps, headache, dizziness, weakness, fatigue, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, nausea and vomiting.
  • Get out of the heat, drink water and place ice packs on your neck, armpits and groin.
  • Reduce your risk by getting out of the sun, protecting yourself with sunscreen, taking breaks inside, seeking shade and drinking water.
  • Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke. Symptoms can include a body temperature of 104 degrees or higher, dry and red skin, inability to sweat, seizures, dizziness, fainting, slurred speech, hallucinations, confusion, aggression or agitation.
  • In extreme cases, heat stroke can be fatal. Call 9-1-1.
“We know that accidents happen,” Cook said. “If the unfortunate happens, know that Carle Health Emergency Department and Convenient Care professionals are here for you.”

Carle Health Convenient Care and Express Care locations will be open 8 a.m.-8 p.m. July 4. Exceptions will be Carle Foundation Hospital Convenient Care Plus, which will be open 7 a.m.-10 p.m., and Carle BroMenn Outpatient Center, which will be open 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

Categories: Staying Healthy

Tags: burns, emergency, fireworks, heat, holiday, safety, summer