Staying Safe During the Fourth of July Weekend

selective focus photograph of sparklers
Photo by Matheus Bertelli on Pexels.com

From undercooked chicken to burns and broken legs — celebrations and cookouts like the Fourth of July are meant to be fun — but can often lead to injuries and accidents along the way.

At Trinity Health, the emergency departments and urgent cares across our campuses can fill up during holiday weekends when alcohol, sun, adventure, and lack of safety protocols come into play.

“Since the Fourth falls on a Monday this year, it makes for a long three-day weekend for our health care teams,” said Daniel Roper, MD, and chair of the Emergency Department at Trinity Health Saint Mary’s. “Many people go out of town which may reduce volumes, but it is always difficult to predict. Emergency Departments may see less volume while many people go out of town, but Urgent Care centers may see more since doctor’s office that might have dealt with minor medical issues are closed.”

According to usa.gov, there are more than 280 visits to hospital emergency departments each day around the Fourth of July holiday. Forty-four percent of fireworks-related injuries are burns.

“We would expect to see some people with firework injuries such as burns to the hands or eye injuries,” said Dr. Roper. “People are also more likely to be making bonfires so burn injuries related to that are possible. Sunburn from people spending time at a lake or pool are likely, but they may go to an urgent care center instead. There is a lot of alcohol consumption over the Fourth of July weekend and unfortunately that can lead to fights and injuries related to assault or drunk driving. Finally, with it being so hot out we could expect to see some heat related injury such as dehydration, and heat exhaustion or heat stroke.”

Dr. Roper says while he hopes it is a quiet, safe holiday weekend — the best way to stay out of the hospital — starts with following safe practices.

“Leaving fireworks to the professionals is best, but if using fireworks — use safe practices,” said Dr. Roper. “Use sunscreen and keep well hydrated if you are out in the sun and in hot weather. And lastly, if you consume alcohol, drink responsibly. 

Tips for playing it safe during the holiday with fireworks:

  • Keep water nearby in case of a fire
  • Wear eye protection
  • Never try re-lighting a firework dud
  • Do not point fireworks at other people, pets, or homes
  • Use caution with sparklers, and assist kids
  • Do fireworks in open, spacious areas

Tips for other safety during the holiday:

  • Only grill outdoors — do not place grills in houses, garages, or campers
  • Don’t leave food at room temperature for more than two hours (one hour if the temperature outdoors is 90-degrees or higher)
  • Keep pets and children away from grills

Trinity Health wishes you a safe and happy Fourth of July!

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