The 4th of July is one of the most fun American holidays. People get together with friends and family, eat their favorite foods, take some time off work, and watch fireworks shows. But along with that laissez-faire attitude can come plenty of instances for getting hurt (especially when alcohol does tend to get involved).
In hopes of helping you prevent injuries, below is a list of the most common types of injuries typically seen in emergency rooms across the country over the 4th of July weekend.
7 of the Most Common 4th of July Injuries
1. Hand Injuries
Sparklers may look beautiful and are an attractive, “safer” option for children. However, they are still capable of inflicting serious burns to skin. In addition, it’s also common for the flames to touch people’s clothes, increasing the likelihood of getting injured. If they are one of your favorite things and you can’t imagine a 4th of July celebration without them, have a bucket full of water nearby whenever you or anyone else in your group is using them. In addition, always keep your arms extended when using sparklers, and only light them in open spaces, far away from anything flammable.
2. Face Injuries
A substantial portion of ER injuries during the 4th of July weekend are related to fireworks. They mostly occur to people who either held the fireworks too close when lighting them, or children who shouldn’t have been allowed to handle them in the first place. If you do opt to light them, walk away from them as quickly as possible, and never allow minors to do it themselves. Also, never wear loose clothing while dealing with fireworks.
2. Car Accidents
Any time there’s an event where people drink heavily, the number of car accidents increases. The 4th of July is the deadliest of American holidays when it comes to motor vehicle accidents, even worse than New Year’s Eve. You can try to stay safe by celebrating at home, avoid driving from 6:00 PM until the next morning, or learn how to spot drunk drivers (swerving, weaving in and out of traffic, tailgating, driving in the middle of the street, driving with their face too close to the windshield).
4. Swimming Accidents
Fourth of July parties involve a lot of pool parties, as well as swimming in beaches and lakes. From alcohol to unattended children, the stage is set for drownings. No matter how young your children may be, teach them how to swim. Also, learn CPR, provide your children with arm floats or other flotation devices, and never leave them unattended.
Related: Top 7 Important Water Safety Tips
5. Boating Accidents
Just as alcohol impairs drivers, it also affects boating. In fact, along with Memorial Day and Labor Day, 4th of July leads the list of holidays with the highest amount of boating accidents. If you’re going to drive a boat, take a state-approved boating safety course, limit your alcohol intake, make sure everyone on board is wearing a life jacket, know how to call for help and inform authorities of your exact location in the event of an accident.
6. Dehydration or Heat Stroke
It’s the middle of the summer, and most of the 4th of July celebrations occur at swimming pools or beaches, where people spend the entire day in the sun. Whether by engaging in water sports and/or drinking alcohol, the circumstances are prime for a person to become dehydrated. Take breaks to go indoors or sit in the shade and consume water and fruits throughout the day. Finally, learn how to recognize symptoms of heatstroke: fast heartbeat, rapid breathing, dizziness, confusion, headache, nausea, or fainting. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of them, move to an air-conditioned or shaded area, drink water, and call 911 if the person becomes unconscious.
7. Food Poisoning
This happens from both, undercooked meats done at a barbecue as well as perishable foods that have been left outside in the heat all day, such as cheeses, potato salad, mac and cheese, and anything else that you would normally keep refrigerated on any other occasion. If you’re having an outdoors event, bring out coolers, since heat causes bacteria to multiply faster. Never leave perishables unrefrigerated for more than an hour.
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