Faith Community Hospital shares tips for a safe July 4th

Fireworks, food and fun are the way many Americans will be celebrating Independence Day this year. No matter how you choose to celebrate the holiday, officials at Faith Community Hospital encourage you to make health and safety a priority.

“The list can go on and on as to why Independence Day is important for this country of ours,” says Dr.  Erika Crutcher, a family practice physician at Faith Community Hospital. “But your celebration can quickly turn into a disaster without the consideration of health and safety. This top-of-mind awareness can literally make the difference between life and death.”

In an effort to promote health and safety, Faith Community Hospital offers five tips that everyone should keep in mind during the upcoming holiday weekend.

Don’t drink and drive

Studies show that the Independence Day holiday ranks second next to New Year’s Eve for alcohol-related traffic accidents. In addition, statistics indicate a higher prevalence of driving under the influence of alcohol in rural rather than urban areas. Nationwide, the fatality rates of automobile accidents for both teens and adults are twice as high in rural areas as in urban areas.

“It’s important that you stay alert at all times, so we recommend avoiding alcoholic beverages this weekend,” Dr. Crutcher says. “Staying sober means less traffic accidents as a result of driving under the influence.”

Leave fireworks to the professionals

Fireworks are synonymous with the 4th of July, but the thrill and wonder of fireworks can also bring pain—and sometimes death—if not handled properly.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 36 percent of fireworks injuries are sustained to the hands and fingers, followed by 19 percent to the eyes and heads/faces/ears. More than 50 percent of these injuries are burns.

Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers. In addition, it is recommended that individuals opt to enjoy fireworks shows put on by professionals.

Be a safe swimmer

Many families head to the lake or gather around pools to enjoy the holiday. However, because water sports are among America’s top pastimes, they lead to numerous deaths and injuries.

It is recommended that individuals never swim alone, and children should be supervised at all times. 

Hydrate and apply sunscreen

No matter the time of day, the Texas heat can be harmful. It is recommended that individuals participating in outdoor festivities always stay hydrated by drinking water and consuming fresh fruits and vegetables that contain a high percentage of water.

In addition, sport drinks with electrolytes may be useful for people participating in vigorous activities.

Don’t leave food out all day

Leaving food outdoors can cause food-borne illness. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends that food never be left out for more than an hour when outdoor temperatures are above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and never more than two hours at any other time.

In addition, foods that require refrigeration should be placed in a cooler with plenty of ice and/or freezing packs to hold a temperature of at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

“Food requires our constant attention, from beginning to end. That means washing our hands before preparing and ensuring certain foods, like meats, are cooked thoroughly,” says Kathy Warnell, Food Services manager at Faith Community Hospital. “Many foods that contain condiments, such as mayonnaise, as well as egg dishes are often associated with food poisoning. This usually occurs because of poor storage by leaving them out too long.”

Dr. Crutcher says that he hopes that everyone has fun—but in a safe manner.

“We are fortunate to live in such an amazing country, and want everyone to enjoy their Fourth of July festivities safely,” Dr. Crutcher says. “Nonetheless, if a medical emergency occurs, Faith Community Hospital will be here, with a responsive EMS team ready to care for you.”

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