Don’t Try This At Home Folks

Summer Safety is a hot topic that is sometimes overlooked or forgotten.  The buzz of the summer months provides for lots of fun family time but sometimes we may get caught up in the moment and accidents happen.

There is an exhaustive list of summer safety subjects but in light of the holiday weekend that is upon us let’s focus on fireworks for the time being.  Although the purchase of fireworks for personal use is legal in some states (check with your local legislature to be sure), the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you leave it to the professionals.  Many cities, towns, and communities have a fireworks display done by professionals that you can attend for free. I grew up in our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., so I had the pleasure of watching those awesome fireworks on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial across from the Washington Monument, over the Reflecting Pool.  If you ever have an opportunity to see that spectacular display in person, take advantage of it!

If you do decide to have a home display, PLEASE keep an eye on your little ones.  Very serious burns can occur with things that seem as innocuous as the old-time favorite, sparklers. Fireworks including sparklers can reach temperatures over 1000 degrees Farenheit. YES I said it, ONE THOUSAND degrees!

Summer Safety

If perchance a burn does occur, IMMEDIATELY apply cool water – NOT ice – cool water. What you may not realize is that once your skin has been burned a thermal reaction in the affected tissue continues.  So even though you may have removed your hand from the fire, for instance, the damage from that retained heat continues to impact the burned tissue AND the healthy cells next door.  So in order to reduce the impact of the damage to burned and neighboring cells, apply cool water to the area. The cool sensation may also help give some relief from the discomfort.  However, ice can actually cause more damage than good. Believe it or not, ice can burn, too.  Frostbite ring a bell? Hypothermia (super cold temperatures) can cause just as much damage as hyPERthermia (too much heat). See the difference? hyPO = too low, hyPER = too high.  So whenever you see those in front of a medical term (prefix), now you know what that means.  Hypoglycemia = LOW blood sugar. Hypertension = HIGH blood pressure. Got it?

Remove any clothing from the area immediately unless it is stuck to the skin.  Cover the area with clean, dry, sterile gauze or cloth if gauze isn’t available and see your doctor.  Seek medical attention immediately if there is any blistering or oozing of the burns or if the burn is circumferential, meaning it wraps around or encircles an extremity or digit like fingers and toes.  Burns that wrap around parts of the body can cause problems down the road as they heal if not monitored by a trained professional.  As scar tissue is formed in a burn that wraps around a body part occurs over time, the scar tissue can tighten or contract and constrict function of some of the muscles in the area if not addressed appropriately by a professional.  Facial burns should also be evaluated by a physician immediately.

Bear in mind that some children have sensory integration disorders and the loud, flashing lights may be genuinely uncomfortable for them. Noise canceling headphones may be helpful in those cases. Also, if anyone has a photosensitive seizure disorder, the repetitive, intense flashing could possibly trigger seizures.

Sidebar – if you MUST partake of a hot dog as is traditional during this time of year PLEASE look for unprocessed ones containing only ingredients that you can read.  More and more manufacturers are answering the call for healthier versions of foods.  You just have to take the extra seconds to look for them in your local grocery store. Processed meats are associated with a higher risk of cancers later in life.

Happy Healthy Living!

Until Next Time….

Take Home Tidbits:

  • Fireworks can reach 1000 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Apply cool water – not ice – to burns
  • Seek medical attention immediately if burns are blistering, oozing or circumferential
  • Find unprocessed hot dogs

Helpful Resources

AAP 2016 Summer Safety Tips

Dietary Exposure to Volatile and Non-volatile N-nitrosamines from processed meat products in Denmark

Calcium Inhibits Promotion by Hot Dog of 1,2-dimethylhydrazine-induced Mucin-depleted Foci in Rat Colon.