Nation's Emergency Physicians: Spring Break Fun Is Staying Out of the ER

WASHINGTON, March 8 -- The nation's emergency physicians are urging America's students to stay safe during their spring break vacations by offering 10 tips to help avoid a trip to the emergency department.

"Spring break should involve having fun with family and friends, and not be spent in the emergency department," said Dr. Angela Gardner, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. "Emergency physicians see many injuries and illnesses during this time that could have been avoided. Taking responsible steps can help prevent problems and even tragedies."

Here are 10 tips to help you have a safe spring vacation:

  • Tip 1: Use good judgment. If you're with a group involved in questionable activities, don't join.
  • Tip 2: Carry a cell phone with you at all times in case of emergencies.
  • Tip 3: Don't consume illegal drugs.
  • Tip 4: Never binge drink, and don't drink if you are under-age. Alcohol poisoning can kill you. Don't drink alcohol if you plan to drive, boat or swim.
  • Tip 5: Don't go to an isolated place with a stranger or someone you don't trust completely. Remember, anyone you first meet is still a stranger.
  • Tip 6: Get proper training from experts before taking part in athletic or skilled activities, such as surfing, water-skiing and scuba diving.
  • Tip 7: Get enough sleep. Don't overdo the activities. Sleep deprivation equals bad decision making.
  • Tip 8: Protect yourself against sexually transmitted diseases such as herpes or HIV, as well as unintended pregnancies. The best advice is abstinence. But if you do have sex, use a condom.
  • Tip 9: Wear sunscreen, at least SPF 15 or higher, and drink plenty of water, especially when in the sun or if you are sweating heavily. Wear a hat outdoors and a good pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes.
  • Tip 10: If you need to take medications, bring them with you, along with your health insurance card.

"Spring break vacations should be a fun highlight of a student's year," said Dr. Gardner. "It should not be a time in your life that you'd soon rather forget. Have fun, but stay safe."

For more information on prescription drug abuse and other health related topics, go to www.EmergencyCareForYou.org.

ACEP and MedicAlert Foundation are partnering to promote EmergencyCareforYou.org and to educate the public about medical emergencies.

MedicAlert Foundation pioneered the first medical identification and emergency medical information service in 1956 to provide people with a simple but effective method for communicating their medical conditions. Since the organization's founding, MedicAlert Foundation has provided services and products that help to protect and save lives for its 4 million members worldwide. For more than 50 years, the nonprofit foundation has relayed vital medical information on behalf of its members to emergency responders so they receive faster and safer treatment. MedicAlert IDs alert emergency personnel to a member's primary health conditions. In addition to its 24-hour emergency response service, MedicAlert Foundation also provides family and caregiver notification so that members can be reunited with their loved ones. For more information, visit www.medicalert.org.

ACEP is a national medical specialty society representing emergency medicine. ACEP is committed to advancing emergency care through continuing education, research and public education. 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.

Monday, March 8, 2010