5 Tips to Stay Safe This Fourth of July | Loyola Medicine

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Friday, June 30, 2017

Five Tips to Stay Safe This Fourth of July

American flag against fireworks

Maywood, IL - Safety should be the number one priority to keep in mind for this Fourth of July holiday. The firework filled holiday weekend is a time to celebrate with family and friends, not for spending time in the emergency room. 

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, an estimated 11 people died and about 12,000 people were taken to the hospital with firework-related injuries in 2015.

To keep you and your family safe during the holidays, here are a few tips from Loyola Medicine experts to protect your health this summer holiday season:

Don't play with fire. "More than 50 percent of Fourth of July injuries are burns," said Arthur Sanford, MD, a burn surgeon. "Hands and fingers are the most injured body parts. Leave fireworks to the experts, and especially keep children away from fireworks. Sparklers may seem safe but actually burn at temperatures about 2,000 degrees, akin to a blow torch."

Protect your eyes. "More than 1,300 eye injuries were reported in the past year due to fireworks, almost double from the previous year," said Eileen Gable, OD, optometrist. "Fireworks can cause detached retinas and chemical and thermal burns to the eyes that can result in temporary and even permanent blindness. Half of those injured are not even handling the explosives themselves but are innocent bystanders. Stay 500 feet away from fireworks, respect safety barriers, and do not touch fireworks that failed to detonate. If handling fireworks, wear protective eyewear, and if injured, seek medical attention immediately. Do not rub or flush eyes as that may make the injury worse."

Save your hearing. "10 million Americans suffer irreversible hearing damage from noise. Some fireworks hit 135 decibels, well above the 85 decibel threshold when hearing damage can occur," said Candace Blank, AuD, audiologist."Wear ear buds when noises are loud to protect hearing because once lost, hearing cannot be recovered." The World Health Organization recommends children not be exposed to any noise louder than 140 decibels.

Avoid sunburn. "Use a ping pong ball-sized handful of lotion with an SPF of 30 or higher approximately 30 minutes before you go outdoors," said Rebecca Tung, MD, dermatologist. "Pay attention to covering the tips of the ears, the nose, the back of the neck as well as chest, arms and legs. Don't forget balm for your lips. And reapply every two hours."

Stay hydrated. "Drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day is the general recommendation, with more needed if you are outdoors in the sun," says Keith Veselik, MD, family medicine. "Avoid dehydration by eating fruits and vegetables and definitely take time outs in the shade and cool temperatures to avoid fatigue." 

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 92 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 129,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.