Safety Tips Emergency Physicians Say Will Help You Stay Out of The ER This Coming Memorial Day Weekend

Washington - Fun in the sun, by the pool, on a boat or at a barbeque can quickly send you to the emergency department on Memorial Day if you don't plan ahead, the nation's emergency physicians warned today.

"We want people to have fun on Memorial Day weekend, which officially kicks off summer," said Dr. Angela Gardner, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. "But having fun also means staying safe, using good judgment and taking simple precautions that will help keep you out of the ER and most importantly, keep you alive."

The American College of Emergency Physicians has put together the top five tips that you and your family should follow in order to stay safe and healthy over the holiday weekend.

  • Tip 1: Food Safety - 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. 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.
  • 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 a leaking grill. Do not use a grill in a garage, breezeway, carport and porch or near any surface that can catch fire. Also, always follow the manufacturer's instructions that accompany 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. 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 to you at all times in case of an emergency.

"Many of the factors that will determine your safety over Memorial Day weekend or any time this summer will come down to good decision-making and common sense," said Dr. Gardner. "As someone who sees the consequences up close, my best advice is, know your limits, be mindful of certain risks and stay smart."

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.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010