The long, warm days of summer lead more people to outdoor activities and, unfortunately, more personal injuries. People enjoy the great outdoors in summer for such activities as swimming, traveling, barbecuing and attending outdoor events that crowd the calendar of summer activities in Charlottesville.
But there are some simple, common sense precautions that everyone can take to help keep themselves and their families safe as they enjoy their summer. Below are some of the issues the Charlottesville personal injury attorneys of Kendall Law Firm deal with each year and how you can avoid needing medical or legal help and instead have fun this summer.
Beat Summer’s Heat
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says heat kills more than 600 people in the United States each year. And while heat-related illnesses like heat stroke and heat exhaustion can strike people of all ages, extreme heat poses the greatest risk for young children, adults older than 65, and people with mental illness and chronic diseases.
To handle the summer heat, remember to:
- Stay hydrated. Water is the best thing to drink to stay properly hydrated. Drink water regularly; if you wait until you are thirsty, you’re not drinking enough water. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables, which contain a high percentage of water, also helps with hydration.
- Stop sunburn. Unprotected skin can be burned by the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays in as little as 15 minutes though it can take up to 12 hours for the skin to show the damage, the CDC says. Use sunscreen with sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher, and both UVA and UVB protection, the Virginia Department of Health advises. Remember to reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours and after swimming, sweating, and toweling off. Read more about protecting children from the sun.
- Stay indoors. Seek shade to keep cool during midday hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) when UV rays are at their highest levels.
Practice Water Safety
Drowning caused 3,709 deaths in 2017, the National Safety Council says. Not including drownings in boating accidents, on average, about 10 people die from drowning every day in the United States. The younger the child, the greater the risk of drowning.
An adult should closely supervise young children any time they are swimming, playing or even bathing in the water of any depth. No one of any age should swim alone or in unsupervised locations. Make sure your skill level matches the body of water you plan to swim in. Swimming in a pool is much easier than swimming in a lake or river, where more strength is needed to handle currents.
Pool Safety in Charlottesville
If you own a swimming pool, check it regularly to ensure the proper chlorine level (1-3 mg/L or parts per million [ppm]) and pH of 7.2-7.8 to maximize germ-killing power. Don’t swim if you are ill, and don’t swallow the water; chlorine and other disinfectants don’t kill germs instantly. Read more about pool chemical safety, including chemical handling and storage.
Travel Safely this Summer
The period between Memorial Day in May and Labor Day in September is known as the “100 Deadliest Days” because car accidents involving teen drivers increase significantly while teens are out of school and driving more. This threat is in addition to increased traffic as other drivers head for vacations, motorcyclists and bicyclists are more active, and highway work zones are more numerous in warmer weather.
If you’re driving for a summer vacation, be sure to be aware of the danger of drowsy driving. When you are sleepy or fatigued, your awareness, reaction time and decision-making are all adversely affected, as they would be if you were drinking and driving.
The National Sleep Foundation says signs of drowsy driving are:
- Trouble focusing
- Heavy eyelids
- Constant yawning
- Head Bobbing
- Drifting from your lane
- Not remembering a stretch of road that you just drove.
If this starts to happen while you’re driving, pull over as soon as it is safe to do so, and take a 20-minute nap or buy a cup of caffeinated coffee to help you perk up. On a road trip, you should stop every two hours or so. If you have someone else in the car, switch drivers. Try to drive when you are most alert, like in the morning instead of late at night.
Summer is a great time for families and friends to get together to cook out and/or attend events like the Fourth of July celebrations and other festivals.
But cookouts in Charlottesville, VA, and fireworks cause a variety of injuries every summer, like burns and food-borne illnesses.
The CDC estimates that 76 million Americans get sick from the food-related illness every year.
More than 300,000 ends up hospitalized and about 5,000 dies. Protect yourself and your friends and family in these ways:
- Use a meat thermometer on grilled meats. Ground beef, for example, should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Don’t cross-contaminate. Wash your hands, utensils and cutting boards after they have been in contact with raw meat or poultry and before they touch another food.
- Refrigerate leftover foods promptly. Bacteria can grow quickly at room temperature.
If you are cooking on a grill, make sure it is on a level, hard surface and keep children away from it while it is heating up, as you cook, and as it is cooling down.
Read more from the CDC about food safety for special events, seasons and holidays
As for fireworks, the National Safety Council advises enjoying fireworks at a public display conducted by professionals and staying away from all consumer fireworks.
The National Fire Protection Association says each Independence Day, thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured while using store-bought fireworks. Fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires per year, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 16,900 outdoors and other fires. These fires caused an average of three deaths, 40 civilian injuries, and an average of $43 million in direct property damage.
Contact Our Charlottesville Personal Injury Attorneys
If you suffer an injury this summer that was someone else’s fault and incur damages – such as medical expenses, property damage, pain and suffering – you can seek compensation from the person or organization that caused the accident. The Charlottesville personal injury attorney of the Kendall Law Firm can work with you to pursue a claim.
The personal injury lawyers at Kendall Law Firm work on a contingency-fee basis. This means that we do not charge for our legal services unless we obtain a financial recovery for you. Don’t suffer costs and losses that are not your fault. Contact us for a free consultation today.
We serve clients in Winchester, Harrisonburg, Charlottesville, and areas throughout central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley.
Call the Charlottesville Personal Injury Lawyer 24/7 at (434) 296-2378.