Risk for Injury and Illness Increases During Summer Months
Louisville, Ky. (July 15, 2014) — Summer is in full swing, but it is important to be cautious during these warm and action-packed months. KentuckyOne Health reminds the community to take advantage of easy tips and reminders to avoid serious injury or even death this summer.
“Summer offers a lot of fun activities, but it can also welcome dangers,” said Royce Coleman, MD, medical director, University of Louisville Hospital emergency department. “Between sun safety, heat safety and avoidable injuries, there are many ways to protect yourself and loved ones by following a few simple guidelines.”
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in the United States, with Kentucky among the states with the highest incidence rates of melanoma – the deadliest type. One in five Americans will develop some form of skin cancer due to the damaging affects of UV rays, which can cause skin damage in as little as 15 minutes.
“To protect yourself from the sun, we recommend applying at least 30 SPF that contains both UVA and UVB protection, said Anna Smith, RN and administrative director University of Louisville Hospital emergency/trauma services. “Avoid the sun during peak hours – between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. – and reapply sunscreen every two to three hours.”
Aside from skin cancer, heat-related injuries are very prevalent in the United States. They’re the nation’s number one weather-related killer. Heat-related illnesses account for about 700 deaths per year and most commonly occur in males, ages 65 and older.
There are four types of heat-related illnesses; heat stroke is the most severe. Heat rash and heat cramps are minor illnesses that can be cured by going to a cooler room and staying hydrated with water.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion, a more severe heat-related illness, includes headaches, heavy sweating, chills, dizziness, weak or rapid pulse, muscle cramps, shallow breathing or nausea and/or vomiting. Heat exhaustion can quickly turn into heat stroke, which has symptoms that include dry skin with no sweating, rapid pulse, confusion, high fever, headache and nausea and/or vomiting. It is important that individuals seek medical attention right away if there are signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
“Sun damage and heat-related illnesses are common summertime ailments, but many people don’t realize that there are more than 2,000 deaths in children, ages 0-14, each year during the summer months due to preventable injuries,” said Dr. Coleman. “Unintentional injuries are the number one killer of children in the United States.”
Common summertime activities like swimming, biking and setting off fireworks can cause some of the most deadly injuries in children from May – August. Parents should keep a close eye on children when they’re swimming, make sure they wear helmets when biking and keep children away from fireworks to avoid serious injury or even death.
About KentuckyOne Health
KentuckyOne Health was formed when two major Kentucky health care organizations came together in early 2012. KentuckyOne Health combines the Jewish and Catholic heritages of the two former systems – Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s HealthCare and Saint Joseph Health System. In late 2012, the organization formed a partnership with the University of Louisville Hospital | James Graham Brown Cancer Center. The nonprofit system is committed to improving the health of Kentuckians by integrating medical research, education, technology and health care services wherever patients receive care. KentuckyOne Health has more than 200 locations including hospitals, physician groups, clinics, primary care centers, specialty institutes and home health agencies across the state of Kentucky and southern Indiana.
Summertime Safety Fact Sheet
- According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in the United States.
- Kentucky is among the states in the nation with the highest incidence rates of melanoma skin cancer, with between 22.5 and 33.4 cases per 100,000 people.
- One in five Americans will develop some form of skin cancer.
- UV rays can damage skin in as little as 15 minutes.
- It is recommended that people apply SPF 30 sunscreen that contains both UVA and UVB protection.
- Reapply sunscreen every two to three hours, even if it’s waterproof.
- Individuals with fair skin and pregnant women are at a higher risk for sunburn.
- Protecting your eyes is also important and it is recommended that UVA and UVB polarized sunglasses be worn outdoors.
- Heat deaths occur more frequently among male adults, ages 65 and older.
- Heat-related illnesses accounts for about 700 deaths per year.
- Heat-related illnesses are the nation’s number one weather-related killer.
- There are four types of heat-related illnesses, including:
- Heat rash
- Heat cramps
- Heat exhaustion
- Heat stroke
- Heat exhaustion signs include headaches, heavy sweating, chills, dizziness, weak or rapid pulse, muscle cramps, shallow breathing or nausea and/or vomiting.
- Heat stroke symptoms include dry skin with no sweating, rapid pulse, confusion, high fever, headache and nausea and/or vomiting.
- Unintentional injury is the number one killer of children in the United States.
- There are more than 2,000 deaths in children, ages 0-14, in the summer months each year from injuries that could have been prevented.
- Common types of unintentional injuries include drowning, biking/roller blading/skateboarding injuries and firework-related injuries.