Leave Fireworks to the Pros and Enjoy the Show

Crowd watching fireworks and celebrating new year eveIf any month screams summer, it’s July: amusement parks, baseball, beaches, outdoor concerts, parades, picnics — and along with July 4th celebrations, fireworks.

Fireworks light up the sky with a spectacular view. But these figures should give you pause: The most recent figures  from the Consumer Product Safety Commission say that U.S. emergency rooms saw almost 13,000 fireworks-related injuries in 2017. Children younger than 15 years old accounted for 36 percent of those injuries. Fireworks also start roughly 18,500 fires each year, according to the National Fire Protection Association. And before you think sparklers are safe (they can burn as hot as 2,000 degrees to melt some metals), fireworks burns, in general, were the most common injury to arms, fingers, and hands. Continue reading

Is Your Car Road-Trip Ready?

Young black family in a car on a road trip smilingThe whole family is psyched to hit the road and escape. But whether it’s a day trip or a week-long jaunt, “safety first” means always having a few items on hand for an emergency on wheels.

Some items (like ice scrapers) can be seasonal, depending on the part of the country where you live. But others should be the ones that are go-tos, all year long, so leave room in the trunk: Continue reading

Safety First at Amusement and Water Parks

Family in bumper carsAccording to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), about 370 million people ride 1.7 billion rides at 400 North American fixed-site (non-travelling) amusement parks annually. Accidents do happen.

The U.S. Product Safety Commission estimated that U.S. emergency rooms saw 30,900 amusement park injuries in 2016 alone (the most recent data available).

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Alcohol and Medications Don’t Mix

exhausted man driving his car in traffic

Whether it’s “over the counter,” or a doctor’s prescription — alcohol and medications don’t mix.

The U.S. statistics on alcohol use behind the wheel are sobering, especially when it comes to the number of car crash deaths each year: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 29 people die in cars each day as a result of drinking and driving. That’s one death every 50 minutes, at an annual cost of more than $44 billion. Additionally, both legal and illegal drugs are involved in about 16 percent of motor vehicle accidents.

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Your Medication Checklist: Taking (and Trashing) Drugs Safely

Man looking at medicine while sitting by woman using laptop computer in kitchen at home

Whether you’re taking “over-the-counter” medication, or a prescription drug from your doctor, it’s easy to lose track of what you take and when. Review health history, and talk with your doctor about the specific medications or supplements that you’re on now, or the ones he/she may be recommending. A medication checklist for the fridge (and a copy to have with you for emergencies) can help keep your meds routine at your fingertips. This “mini chart” should include your name, plus your doctor’s and local drugstore’s phone numbers, at the top. List what medication you take, the start date of taking it, why you take it, how much you take, when you take it, and if you take it with or without food. Include any drug (or supplement) interaction dangers as well (as in, “don’t take this, with that”). Also note when you should stop taking it. Leave room at the bottom to list any of your drug allergies.

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She Swims Safely at the Seashore (or Pool): Avoid Waterborne Diseases

Family relaxing on inflatable rafts in a swimming pool

Whether to stay in shape, relax, or just cool off, swimming is one of the best exercises around, because you work all muscle groups. Great for arthritis sufferers, you’re also buoyed by the water, which means less muscle and joint strain.

Learning how to swim through a trained and certified professional in swimming and water safety (at your own level and pace) can help replace any fear of the water with a healthy respect and love for it. The place to start is with a visit to www.redcross.org for a state-by-state list of Learn-to-Swim Providers, as well as your local beach, community center, or parks and recreation department. You’ll find classes for everyone from six months old up to adult.

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Bed Bugs: Unwelcome Bedfellows

Baby bedbug or cimex after sucked blood from skin

Bed bugs are small, (think Lincoln’s head on a penny), flat, brick-colored, wingless parasites that dine on animal and human blood. (They can survive several months at a time without a meal!) Avid travelers, they show up world-wide where people sleep, and don’t discriminate between lodgings (that includes five-star hotels — and the cleanest of homes.) Bed bugs hitch a ride and hide, which means they can stow away in luggage that you bring back home. In a bedroom, they’re known to journey more than 100 feet in one night, even though they tend to live within eight feet of where people snooze. Dirt is not so much a factor, but what they do like are areas behind wallpaper, bed frames and box springs, mattress seams, cracks, crevices, and clutter.

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Smoke Alarms and Escape Plans Go Hand in Hand

Sound the alarm (the smoke alarm that is). Smoke alarms are your path to safety in the event of a house fire, because if one sounds, that’s your cue to move you and your family calmly and quickly outside, and call 9-1-1. Smoke spreads fast, and can not only incapacitate you, causing serious injury (smoke inhalation can be deadly), it can impact visibility to escape.

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