Summer Safety for You and Your Kids
Burns From Fireworks and Grills continued...
The CDC estimates that about 7,000 people were treated in emergency rooms in 2008 for injuries associated with fireworks. Half of those injured were children. Most injuries involved the hands, head, and eyes. Lee Duffner, MD, an ophthalmologist in Hollywood, Fla., says, "Unfortunately, I've treated burns of the cornea and eyelids and hemorrhages inside the eye caused by hand-held sparklers and other fireworks."
Mary Mondozzi, a nurse at the Akron Children's Hospital Burn Center, says she also sees burns from grills and campfires. "Children get hurt playing around grills or they get burned when they throw objects into campfires," she says.
Burn prevention and treatment
Stick with public firework displays handled by professionals. Children should always be closely supervised when food is being cooked indoors or outdoors. Be aware that gas leaks, blocked tubes, and overfilled propane tanks cause most gas grill fires and explosions. "Teach children to cover their faces, stop, drop, and roll if their clothes catch fire," Mondozzi says.
Generally, minor burns smaller than a person's palm can be treated at home. But burns bigger than that, and burns on the hands, feet, face, genitals, and moving joints usually require emergency treatment. "For a minor injury, run cool water over it and cover it with a clean, dry cloth," says Mondozzi. Don't use ice, which can worsen a burn. And don't apply petroleum jelly (Vaseline) or butter, which can hold heat in the tissue. Consult your family doctor if a minor burn does not heal in a couple of days or if there are signs of infection, such as redness and swelling.
Summer is prime time for weddings, picnics, graduation parties, family cookouts -- and foodborne illness. Feeding the large groups involved can make food safety especially challenging. Last June, at least 81 students from E.C. Drury High School in Milton, Ontario, reported signs of food poisoning after a graduation celebration. Stool samples confirmed E. coli as the cause of illness, though the exact food source of the bacterium was not confirmed. Known sources of E. coli include undercooked beef, sausage, and contaminated produce.
Typical signs of foodborne illness include nausea, vomiting, cramps, and diarrhea. In serious cases, high fever, bloody stool, and prolonged vomiting may occur. Young children, pregnant women, older people, and those with compromised immune systems are hit hardest.
Bacteria, whether in food or in the air, grow faster in warmer weather. Don't just worry about the potato salad or egg dishes, says Marlene Clark, a registered dietitian at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. "You have to be careful with any food, including melons and lettuce," she says. Since 1996, the FDA has responded to 14 outbreaks of foodborne illness for which fresh lettuce or fresh tomatoes were the confirmed or suspected source. The causes included E. coli, salmonella, cyclospora, campylobacter, and hepatitis A virus. Keep in mind that unpasteurized honey poses the danger of botulism to young children. Babies under 12 months of age should never be given raw honey.