The summer’s most celebrated weekend is upon us and Houstonians young and old alike will observe July 4th with sun, swimming and fireworks. Before the party commences, F. Daniel Medrano, MD, a primary care physician affiliated with Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center offers up a few basic tips to ensure a fun and safe holiday.
Summer is a perfect time to soak up sunshine, but too much sun exposure can be harmful.
The first line of protection is sunscreen. Look for "broad spectrum" products, which provide good protection against UVA and UVB rays. Also, use a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30. Apply it 30 minutes before going out, and reapply often throughout the day.
Limit your sun exposure by planning outdoor activities before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m., when the sun is not at its peak. If that’s not an option, apply sunscreen and cover up with clothing – T-shirts can be worn over the top of bathing suits – a hat and glasses. Babies under six months of age should be kept out of direct sunlight.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about ten people die from unintentional drowning every day. To protect yourself and your loved ones while swimming, it’s important to always swim with a buddy, and when watching children, to designate an adult whose sole responsibility is to watch the children in or around the water. This person should not be distracted by other activities such as grilling, talking on the phone, reading, playing with other children, etc. Vigilance is key. Most tragedies occur in the few minutes the child is unsupervised.
Additionally, obey posted safety rules. Review them when you enter the body of water, including the pool or beach, and make sure everyone understands them.
And, while it may be too late for this weekend, learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Performing CPR before paramedics arrive could make a difference in life or death of a drowning victim.
Fourth of July and fireworks go hand-in-hand, but if not handled properly, fireworks can cause serious injury.
The best way to protect your family is to not use fireworks at home. Attend public fireworks displays, and leave the lighting to the professionals.
If you choose to handle fireworks yourself, always light fireworks outside and have a source of water nearby in case of accidents. Additionally, never hold a firework in your hand or any part of your body while lighting it and always wear eye protection. Finally, never point a firework at another person, animal, or a house.
It goes without saying that if an emergency arises call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room.
For more information about Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center, call 713.222.CARE or visit www.memorialhermann.org.