ER Physicians offering five tips to stay safe on Memorial Day

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Updated: 5/07/2012 2:16 pm
WASHINGTON — The unofficial “kickoff” to summer is only a few weeks away, and the nation’s emergency physicians want everyone to stay safe and out of the ER.

“Fun in the sun, by the pool, on a boat or at a barbeque can quickly send you to the emergency department if you don’t plan ahead or use common safety sense,” said Dr. David Seaberg, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. “You can have fun while at the same time take reasonable precautions to help keep you safe and most importantly, keep you alive.”

The American College of Emergency Physicians offers top five tips for you and your family for the holiday weekend.

Tip 1: Food Safety — Refrigerate all perishable food within 2 hours, 1 hour if the temperature outside is above 90 degrees. To guard against cross-contamination of bacteria, keep uncooked meats away from other foods.
To avoid food poisoning, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture recommends cooking fresh poultry to 165 degrees, hamburgers to 160 degrees and beef to at least 145 degrees

Tip 2: Grill Safety — Emergency physicians see firsthand the dangers associated with an outdoor grill. Consumers should thoroughly clean a grill of any grease or dust. Check the tubes leading into the burner for any blockages from insects or food grease that can cause an uncontrolled fire. Replace any connectors which can lead to a gas leak and keep lighted cigarettes, matches or open flames away from any grill. Do not use a grill in a garage, breezeway, carport or porch or near any surface that can catch fire. Also, always follow the manufacturer's instructions that come with the grill.

Tip 3: Water Safety — To prevent drowning, avoid alcohol when swimming or boating. Wear a lifejacket whenever you are on a boat. Make sure young children are supervised at all times when near the beach, on a boat, or by a pool or hot tub. Don't swim alone or in bad weather. Learn to swim and teach your children to swim. We also recommend that you learn CPR in case of an emergency.

Tip 4: Sun Safety — Protect against sunburn and heat stroke. Wear sunscreen with at least an SPF of 15 or higher and apply it generously throughout the day. Wear a hat outdoors and a good pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes. Drink plenty of water, especially when in the sun or if you are sweating heavily. If you feel faint or nauseous, get into a cool place immediately.

Tip 5: Travel Safety — Do not drink and drive or travel with anyone who has been drinking. Take along a traveler’s first aid kit to help you be prepared for common emergencies. CLICK HERE to see how to make a first aid kit. Wear your seatbelt at all times. Make sure your vehicle has been properly serviced and is in good working shape before a long road trip. Familiarize yourself with your surroundings if you are in an unfamiliar place and know where the nearest emergency room is. Also, avoid talking or texting on a cell phone while driving.

For more information on ways to stay safe this summer as well as other health-related topics, visit www.EmergencyCareForYou.org.

ACEP is the national medical specialty society representing emergency medicine.

Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, ACEP has 53 chapters representing each state, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. A Government Services Chapter represents emergency physicians employed by military branches and other government agencies.

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