CommunityHealth Fix


Summer ER Injuries—When to go to the ER

Posted at 5:25 PM, Jul 17, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-17 19:25:09-04

Summer break is the perfect time to get outside with friends and family. When preparing for summer activities, safety may not be at the top of your list, but planning ahead for possible emergencies is the best way to keep everyone safe.

Campfire/BBQ/Firework Burns

Burns can happen at any time but are especially common with hot outdoor grills and open fire pits. If an accident does occur, it is important to be able to identify the difference between a minor burn that can be treated at home and a severe burn that needs professional medical attention.

When to seek medical attention:

-          Burn to the face

-          Burn to the entire hand, foot, or groin

-          Second-degree burns covering a large portion of the body

For all serious burns, call 911 immediately. Until an emergency unit arrives, it is important to follow these steps

-          Do not immerse large burn area in cold water

-          Do not remove burned clothing

-          Check for vital signs, especially breathing

-          Elevate the burned body part

-          Apply cool, moist compress to the area

Heat Illness—Heat exhaustion and heat stroke

Summer is all about spending time outside and enjoying the warm weather, but keep in mind that prolonged exposure to the heat can be dangerous. Although heat exhaustion isn’t necessarily as severe as heat stroke, any type of heat-related illness should be treated immediately.

When to seek medical attention:

-          Symptoms such as dizziness, confusion, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, lack of sweating, and shallow breathing

-          Convulsions

-          Unconsciousness

Heat stroke can occur suddenly and be life threatening, so it is important to call 911 if the person experiences any of these symptoms. Until an emergency unit arrives, follow these steps:

-          Move the person out of the sun into a shady spot or an air-conditioned space

-          Apply cool, damp towels or spray the person with cool water (such as this cooling towel)

-          Have the person drink cool water or any nonalcoholic, caffeine-free beverage

For non-life threatening medical conditions, visit to schedule an ER visit and wait from the comfort of your home, rather than in the ER waiting room.