June is National Safety Month

June is National Safety Month. The fact is, unintentional injuries have been increasing for decades and are now the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S. and are considered the leading cause of death for Americans ages 1 to 44.

June is the perfect time to renew our focus on health and safety because with it comes the official start of summer. As temperatures increase in the summer months, there is also an increase in water activities. In the United States, there are nearly 10 deaths per day related to unintentional drowning. More than 1-in-5 of drowning victims are children under 14. For every child who dies from drowning, there are nearly 5 who need emergency care or hospitalization. These nonfatal drowning injuries can cause severe brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities. Most incidents happen when a child falls into a pool or is left alone in a bathtub. It is important to never leave a child unattended in a bathtub or pool. Enrolling in age-appropriate swimming lessons for children and adults, while not “drown proof”, is an important water safety skills.

Heat related illness is another summer danger. It can range from muscle cramps to heat exhaustion and in very severe cases heat stroke. A few of the signs of heat exhaustion can include feeling weak or tired, headaches, nausea and vomiting, or increased body temperature. In more severe cases, an individual may become confused, faint or have seizures. In these situations, call 911. One of the most important measures to prevent heat related illness is to stay well hydrated. While the recommended amount of water is 8 glasses of water per day, when exercising or on hot days, much more fluid intake is needed. Avoid strenuous exercise on hot days, and exercise during cooler times of the day and consider walking at an indoor mall or museum. It is also important to never leave a child or pet in a car as temperatures can surpass 100 degrees within minutes.

Poisoning is one of the leading causes of unintentional injury death. Drugs, both prescription and illicit, with opioid pain medications being the most common, are responsible for the vast majority of poisoning deaths and hospitalizations. If you need chronic opioid pain or other anxiety medications, talk to your doctor about safe use and other options.

As we enjoy the summer months, let’s remind ourselves of preventing accidents and injuries could help to save a life. Through diligence and a few simple safety measures, we can decrease injuries and death.

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