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KentuckyOne Health Encourages Summer Safety - Archived


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Neva Francis, Vice President, Healthy Communities
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KentuckyOne Health Encourages Summer Safety
Injuries are the leading cause of death in those 19 and younger

Martin, Ky. (May 20, 2016) – With summer right around the corner, Saint Joseph Martin, part of KentuckyOne Health, is encouraging Kentuckians to take action to protect themselves and their families from injuries when enjoying the outdoors. Injuries are the leading cause of death in those 19 and younger. Being aware of summer risk factors can help save lives.
Water Safety
Swimming is one way that many adults and kids beat the heat in the summer, but it is also a major risk factor. Drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States. Every day, about 10 people die from unintentional drowning. The main factors that affect the risk of drowning are lack of swimming ability, lack of barriers to prevent unsupervised water access, lack of supervision while swimming, failure to wear life jackets, alcohol use and seizure disorders.
Research shows that formal swimming lessons, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training, wearing a life jacket, using the buddy system, and designating an adult to watch young children in the water reduces drowning risk. Among adolescents and adults, alcohol use is involved in up to 70 percent of water recreation deaths, so avoiding alcohol is also key.
“Those who survive a drowning can still be left with a severe brain injury,” said Ronald Hamilton, MD, Team Health, Saint Joseph Martin Emergency Department. “This can lead to learning disabilities, memory problems, and permanent loss of basic functioning. It’s important that you and your family take the necessary steps to stay safe when in the water. CPR is an important tool that can help you and your family members help save a life.”
Bicycle Safety
During the summer, more people are out on two wheels – to commute, run errands, exercise and for recreation. Statistics show that most bicycle fatalities occur during the summer months. When a crash happens between a cyclist and vehicle, it is the cyclist who is often injured or killed.
To avoid being injured on a bike, it is recommended that you go with the flow of traffic, use hand signals, watch for uneven pavement and potholes, make yourself and your bicycle visible at all times, and wear a properly fitted helmet, regardless of your age or skill. Statistics show that wearing a helmet when on a bike can reduce the risk of traumatic brain injury by 85 percent.
Heat-related Illness
The hot weather can also be a safety issue during the summer. Infants and children up to 4 years old are at greatest risk of a heat-related illness, including heat stroke. Adults 65 years and older are also prone to heat-related illnesses. Seniors over 65 don’t sweat as much as younger adults, making it more difficult to regulate body temperature. As the temperature rises, so does your internal body temperature. To beat the heat, you should drink fluids, stay indoors when possible, take a cold shower or bath, wear lightweight and light-colored clothing, and never leave anyone – child or adult – in a parked vehicle with the windows up when it is hot outside.
Sun Protection
Protecting yourself from the sun and harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays is also important if you plan to be outdoors. It can take as little as 15 minutes for the sun’s rays to damage unprotected skin, even on a cloudy day. Cumulative sun damage can also lead to long-term issues, such as skin cancer. Current estimates are that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, and on average, one American dies from melanoma every hour.  You should visit a dermatologist every year for a full-body professional skin exam to look at any suspicious moles or lesions.
To avoid a severe burn, sit in the shade, cover up to protect your skin from UV rays, wear UV-blocking sunglasses to protect your eyes, wear a hat to avoid a sunburn on your scalp and face, and apply a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen often. Severe burns can lead to sun poisoning, causing dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, and possibly infection. Those experiencing severe pain, blistering, headache, confusion, nausea or vomiting, fainting or dizziness, should go to an emergency department.
As you’re outdoors this summer, make sure you’re aware of the summer risk factors and take precautions to stay safe.  If you are dealing with a life-threatening emergency or you are in doubt, call 911.
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. KentuckyOne Health is the largest health system in Kentucky.



Publish date: 

Friday, May 20, 2016