- - Saturday, May 23, 2015

Memorial Day is a day when we pause to reflect, honor and give thanks to the men and women who have given their lives while serving our country. They, and their loved ones that survived them, have paid the ultimate price in endurance and sacrifice to ensure our freedoms and liberties.

Throughout our country, Memorial Day weekend touches our hearts and minds. Honor guards line-up to salute and march in community parades; barbeques light-up; and family and friends gather together “in the spirit” of this special weekend. It also ushers in our unofficial start of summer.

Summer is a season full of momentous activities and, all too often, an increase in summer injuries. There are many ways to prevent the injuries that are most common during the summer months, as we enjoy the warm weather. Here we can find helpful tips and facts to help us have a safe and injury-free summer.

Dr. Nina’s What You Need to Know: About Summer Safety

Driving safety. With millions of people returning from road trips, we need to make sure we buckle up and that our kids are properly secured in child safety seats. These simple steps greatly increase our odds of surviving and reducing injuries in the event of a collision. And if we decide to enjoy an alcoholic drink, designating a driver who is not drinking should be as automatic as buckling our seat belts. Alcohol related motor vehicle injuries are 100 percent preventable.
Bodies of water. Every year, approximately 3,000 Americans die from drowning. To decrease the chances of this tragedy, always use the buddy system when swimming; even at a public pool or beach where there is a lifeguard. Remember that young children should never, ever be left unsupervised around water. Kids can drown before we know it. In fact, studies show that most children who drown were out of their parent’s sight for less than 5 minutes! And, if we cannot see what we’re jumping into, we shouldn’t jump. Hitting a submerged rock or shallow bottom can cause tragedy, including paralysis or drowning after becoming unconscious.
Food safety. Improperly cooked or stored foods can make us sick to our stomachs. Hamburgers, hot dogs, and other meat products should be cooked thoroughly. And don’t forget the simple things that can simply ruin our day, like making sure mayonnaise and products with mayonnaise (salads, coleslaw) stay out of the sun for more than 15 minutes.
Bicycling. Helmet safety is smart thinking. Although helmet hair may not be desirable, it can save our lives: 85 percent of all biking deaths are due to head injuries.
Lyme disease. Long-sleeved shirts and pants that can tuck into our socks may seem “stuffy” in the warm weather, but they can help decrease our chances of contracting Lyme disease. For extra protection, consider applying a repellent containing DEET to our clothes and exposed skin. If we see a bull’s eye rash and experience a fever, headache, or muscle or joint paint, we should see our doctor.
Heat exhaustion and dehydration. Those sizzling summer temperatures can cause us to unknowingly lose tremendous amounts of water from sweating and evaporation. Make sure to drink plenty of water, avoid sugary drinks or alcohol, and find refuge in air-conditioned areas. One of the first signs of heat exhaustion is leg cramping. Use it is an indicator that it is time to take a “time out.” Signs of dehydration can include a fast heart rate, headache, confusion, or dizziness.

This Memorial Day, as we enjoy warmer weather and treasured times with family and friends … let us openly share our honor and gratitude for the empty seats at tables throughout our USA. The great sacrifices made by the men and women of our Armed Forces have allowed us our way of life. May this weekend be a beautiful time of remembrance – kicking off a beautiful, safe summer season.

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