Tri Community South EMS CPR Classes

Health & Safety Tips

Summer Safety Tips

Warm weather and sunshine are on the way. While many summer activities are certainly enjoyable, they can also be dangerous. When you’re having fun in the sun, keep these safety tips in mind:

Drink plenty of water before and during any strenuous activity in the heat (including swimming). Drink even if you don’t feel thirsty. You need more fluid than you may think. Take frequent, small drinks rather than less frequent, large drinks. Water is best, but fruit juices and sports drinks with electrolyte solutions are acceptable. Carbonated beverages are not as good. Avoid alcoholic beverages, which interfere with the body’s heat regulating mechanism and promote dehydration. Never drink alcohol before or during swimming or boating. The combination of heat, sun, and alcohol can lead to extremely, sometimes fatally, poor decisions. Avoid eating large meals before strenuous activity. Eat in moderation, and favor light foods.

Take frequent rests, and make these more frequent as the temperature rises. Schedule more strenuous activity for morning and evening, when the weather is cooler. If you have to perform strenuous activity during the hottest hours, start with the least strenuous and gradually build in intensity as your body acclimates to the heat. Stop immediately if you begin to experience dizziness or weakness.

Never leave children, the elderly, or pets alone in a car in the summer. Temperatures can rise to lethal levels in just a few minutes, even with the windows rolled down.

            The sun’s ultraviolet rays can cause more than sunburn. Long exposure can lead to severe burns and eye injury, and long-term exposure can lead to skin cancer. Use protective sunscreens with a protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 whenever you will be outdoors for long periods of time. Ultraviolet radiation penetrates clouds, so use sunscreen even on cloudy days. Wear wide-brimmed hats. Ball caps and sun visors do not protect your neck or ears. Use UV blocking sunglasses. The sun’s rays are most damaging from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when the rays are most nearly vertical. Try to minimize your exposure during these hours. Infants less than 6 months of age are particularly susceptible to severe sunburn, and should be kept out of direct sunlight.

Heat and sun can cause serious injury. Overheating can cause muscle cramps, chills, dizziness, nausea and other symptoms. This set of symptoms is called heat exhaustion. If you have these symptoms, stop all strenuous activity immediately; get out of the sun and heat to the extent possible, and rest. If the symptoms persist for more than a few minutes, call for an ambulance. If these warning signs are ignored, you can suffer heat stroke, which is a life-threatening emergency. In heat stroke, the body loses its ability to regulate temperature with potentially deadly results. It is characterized by flushed, hot, dry skin, and confusion, leading to loss of consciousness and seizures. If you encounter someone with heat stroke symptoms, do not wait; call for an ambulance immediately. Have the victim stop all activity, and do what you can to lower his or her body temperature. Use cold, wet cloths or blankets, particularly at places where major blood vessels are close to the surface: the neck, the armpits and the groin. Do not give fluids by mouth. If you are trained in CPR, be prepared to provide basic life support.

Be Prepared for Emergencies

September is national emergency preparedness month. Tri-Community South EMS reminds all residents to update their medical information and medication records as part of preparing for an emergency. You should keep a list of all your medications; with the dosage and the frequency that each is taken. The list should also include information about any allergies to medications and about any medical problems you currently have, or have been treated for in the past, such as major surgeries, heart or lung conditions, stroke, diabetes, high or low blood pressure, and chronic health conditions. Include the name and phone number of your primary care physician and the pharmacy you use, and the name and phone number of anyone that you want to be contacted in an emergency.

By keeping this information readily available, you can save precious minutes in helping EMS responders make important treatment decisions when an emergency happens. It also can help you in disaster situations, when it will be important to make sure that everyone continues to get the treatment and medications that they need to remain healthy.

Concussion and Sports

Tri-Community South EMS is continuing to participate in an effort to educate athletic coaches, trainers, parents and student athletes in the risks of concussion.

A concussion is an injury to the brain that changes the way the brain cells work. It is caused by a blow to the head or body that moves the brain rapidly inside the skull. This can be from a direct blow to the head, or from a fall or collision with other players or fixed objects. Even a blow that appears to be minor can have serious consequences. The injury from a concussion can result in long-term problems, especially if a second concussion occurs before the brain is sufficiently healed from a previous one. All concussions are serious injuries that can have life-threatening effects.

Coaches and trainers, and parents as well, need to be aware of the potential for concussion. Any forceful blow to the head or body that causes the head to move rapidly has the potential to cause concussion. Any change in the athlete’s behavior, thinking or physical functioning is reason to suspect that a concussion has occurred. Symptoms like headache, nausea, dizziness, vision disturbance, or sensitivity to light or noise are reason to suspect that a concussion has occurred.

If a coach, trainer or parents suspects that an athlete has suffered a concussion, the student should not be allowed to return to play in the event. The athlete should be evaluated immediately by an appropriate health care professional. Parents need to be made aware that the athlete has sustained a possible concussion, and need to be made aware of the need for further evaluation and treatment. The athlete should be allowed to return to play only with the permission of a health care professional with experience in evaluating for concussion. Though EMS providers are well aware of the signs and symptoms of concussion, EMTs and Paramedics cannot and will not release student athletes to return to play after sustaining any injury that manifests any possible sign of concussion.

Parents and athletes need to know that playing with a concussion is not a sign of strength or courage. It is simply foolish risk-taking for no benefit.

Tri-Community South EMS has concussion fact sheets from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention available for distribution to coaches and sports officials.

24/7 EMS hours of operation. | Business hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.