Burn Awareness Week: Fire Prevention Safety Tips

The first full week of February is designated as Burn Awareness Week. Jamaica Hospital Medical Center is taking this opportunity to educate the community about ways to prevent burns in the home.

One of the best ways to prevent burns from occurring at home is to prevent fires. Being aware of the causes of residential fires and learning how to avoid these issues.

The biggest culprits for at-home fires are space heaters and cooking accidents. Space heaters are the number one cause of winter fire deaths. They are used commonly in apartments, homes and dorms. Therefore, it is important to know how to properly use these devices.  Here is a guide:

  • Make sure to thoroughly read the directions for every new space heater you buy, as some directions may vary. When purchasing a space heater, look for a certification from an approved source, such as Underwriters Laboratories, the leading independent safety testing organization.
  • Never plug a space heater into an extension cord. Space heaters should only ever be plugged directly into a wall outlet. This is because space heaters generate so much energy, that it can overload the power strip and cause a fire.
  • Make sure the space heater is placed somewhere safe in your home, meaning at least three feet away from other flammable objects, such as loose paper, curtains, furniture, boxes, etc. Space heaters should not be placed on top of carpets, as this can generate too much electricity and cause a burn or fire.
  • Never block an entrance or exit path with a space heater, in the unfortunate situation that a space heater does go on fire, this can prevent you from leaving the site.
  • Never leave a space heater on and unattended, this includes leaving a space heater on when you go to sleep. This is very dangerous and contributes to the majority of fires occurring when people are asleep. Leaving a space heater on and too close to your body can lead to an injurious burn on your body as well.

Cooking accidents are the number one cause of home fires year-round. In fact, 47% of home fires are due to cooking incidents. Here are a few cooking safety tips to help reduce the risk of injury:

  • Make sure you cook when you are wide awake and in the right state of mind to handle sharp items, fire, and gas.
  • Make sure to clean up your stove from grease build up to prevent fires from starting. In the event of a grease or oil fire, water will not eliminate the fire. In these situations, it is best to cover the pot with a lid or large tray and turn off the heat, as water will make the situation worse.

Although space heaters and cooking accidents are among the leading causes of home fires, it is also important to keep in mind the dangers of electrical fires- the third leading cause of fires.  Here are a few precautions you can follow to keep your home safe:

  • Do not use appliance or devices with frayed or cracked electrical cords
  • Do not plug any items that generate heat or cool air, such as a space heater, microwave, and refrigerator, into an extension cord or a multi-plug adaptor. By plugging too many electricity generating items, one runs the risk of overwhelming the outlet and creating a fire. Best practice is to plug these items directly into the wall outlet.

It is important to have a working smoke detector and carbon monoxide alarm in your home as 70% of fire deaths have occurred in homes that do not have working carbon monoxide alarms or smoke alarms.  Both devices serve as early warnings in the event there is a fire in your home. The batteries for these items should be changed twice a year. A great way to remember to change the batteries is to do so when daylight saving time begins and ends, change your clocks change your batteries.

If you are interested in having a free fire, burn, or home safety presentation for your group or organization, please contact the Trauma Department, Injury Prevention, at Jdennehy@jhmc.org.

Jessica Dennehy, Trauma Injury Prevention Coordinator

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Holiday Cooking Safety Tips

The holidays are a great time to safely connect with family and enjoy delicious, home-cooked food. However, it is important to keep in mind how to cook safely in order to avoid any injuries or emergency room visits.

One of the most common causes of kitchen injuries is burns, which can be caused by picking up a hot pan or dish without using an oven mitt. Burns can also be caused by spilling hot oil when frying food or spilling hot water when boiling food. Be sure to use protective tools when cooking to avoid these types of accidents. Also, when cooking over a stove or any open flame, make sure to never wear loosely fitting clothes. Loose sleeves, shirttails, sashes, can get caught over the flame and cause a fire to break out.

When cooking, be careful not to cut yourself when chopping up vegetables or other food items. Believe it or not, it is actually safer to use a sharp knife rather than a dull knife when cutting. A sharp knife is easier to use in a cutting motion and will allow the user more control. A sharp knife will also avoid the need for using excessive force when cutting, a practice that can lead to loss of control and cause injuries. Always remember to never cut towards your body, but to cut away from your body.

Watch out for slipping in the kitchen as well. It is good practice to keep a kitchen mat under the sink to soak up excess water that may spill over the edge. Water from a pot boiling over on the stove can also lead to a spill. Make sure not to cook barefoot, just in case hot oil spills while cooking or sharp food remains or objects fall to the floor.

Be mindful of food allergies. Make sure that allergy information is shared. Many foods contain tree nuts, shellfish, wheat, and soy, which are common allergens in adults. It is a good idea to place a placard with allergy information on trays to be transparent about ingredients.

Overall, it is a good idea for every household to own a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, fire detector, and carbon monoxide detector during any time of the year. A first aid kit should contain different sized bandages, gauze, antibiotic ointment, and antiseptic cleaning wipes to clean wounds.

Stay safe and enjoy the holidays!

Jessica Dennehy, Trauma Injury Prevention Coordinator

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Can Your Pet Be A Distraction To You While You Drive?

There are many known driving distractions that we are warned to avoid while on the road. These include: talking or texting on your mobile device, eating or drinking, attending to personal grooming, or adjusting our vehicle’s radio or navigation system. While it is important to be mindful of each of these potential distractions, there is another type of distraction that doesn’t get as much attention – driving with our pets.

Many people take their dogs or cats in the car with them when they run local errands; others bring them along for long road trips. During these excursions, our pets often have free reign of the vehicle, will place their head out the car window, and in some cases, even sit in the driver’s lap. These activities, while adorable, can pose great danger to not only the operator of the vehicle, but also the other passengers, fellow motorists, and even the pets themselves.

A recent study of individuals who frequently travel with their pets in the car revealed some very startling facts about their behaviors. The survey concluded that 64 percent of drivers admitted to engaging in a potentially distracting pet-related activity, and 29 percent admitted to actually being distracted by their pets. Some of the activities noted in the study included petting or playing with their pets, allowing them to stay in their lap, feeding them treats, and taking photos of them.  The same study determined 84 percent allowed their pets to ride in their vehicle while unrestrained.

To avoid these types of distractions while driving, motorists should consider purchasing a safety device for their dog or cat. There are two types of devices to choose from:

  • Pet seat belts – They are easy to use and work in tandem with your normal seat belt. Check to make sure the pet belt is the right size for your animal. One that’s too big or too small is counterproductive and can cause unnecessary injuries.
  • Pet carriers- Look for a sturdy carrier with ample ventilation and plenty of room for your pet to turn around and stretch out. Also, make sure you secure the carrier so that it stays safely in place if you suddenly brake or get into an accident.


Jamaica Hospital’s Trauma Division warns that driving with your beloved pet in the car doesn’t need to be dangerous. Take some time to make sure you can safely restrain your pet to maximize safety for you and your lovable friend.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Back to School Safety Tips

The school year has begun and  road travel increases. This can be a dangerous time of year, especially for children.

Many children rely on walking, riding a bicycle, or taking a bus to and from school. Fewer daylight hours can make it harder for motorists to see these young students. Take advantage of the following tips to strengthen your traffic safety knowledge:

Car:

  • All passengers should wear a seat belt.
  • All children should ride in an age- and size-appropriate car safety seat or booster seat. until the vehicle’s seat belt fits properly (usually when the child reaches about 4′ 9” and          is between eight to 12 years of age).

School Bus:

  • Children should always board and exit the bus at locations that provide safe access to the curb or to the school building.
  • Remind your child to wait for the bus to stop before approaching it from the curb.
  • Make sure your child walks where they can see the bus driver (which means the driver will be able to see them too).
  • Remind your child to look both ways to see that no other traffic is coming before crossing the street.

 

Walking:

  • Make sure your child’s walk to school follows a safe route with trained crossing guards at every intersection.
  • If your children are young or are walking to a new school, walk with them the first week or until you are sure they know the route and can do it safely.
  • Bright-colored clothing will make your child more visible to drivers.

Bike:

  • Always wear a bicycle helmet, no matter how short or long the ride.
  • Ride on the right, in the same direction as auto traffic.
  • Respect traffic lights and stop signs.

Following these simple rules can help to prevent accidents and will keep you and children safe.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Bruises – Why We Get Them

A bruise is a common injury that causes the skin to become discolored. When there is bleeding beneath the surface of the skin it becomes evident as a black and blue mark. Eventually, if the person is healthy, the skin will reabsorb the blood and the black and blue mark will fade. A bruise may hurt at first but the pain subsides usually before the discoloration goes away.

 

 

Bruising occurs more frequently in:

  • Older people because their skin isn’t as thick as it once was.
  • Women because they typically have thinner skin.
  • People who exercise vigorously.
  • People who take anti-coagulating medications such as aspirin.
  • People who use topical or oral cortical steroids bruise more easily because it can make the skin thinner
  • People who use the dietary supplement ginkgo can also cause the skin to bruise more easily because it acts as a blood thinner

People who bruise easily should be checked to see if they have serious medical conditions. This would include having blood clotting issues due to taking certain medications or not having the correct amount of blood clotting proteins in the body. Bruising can also be a sign of physical abuse and this must be followed up with a physician or with the police if it is noticed and there is no explanation as to why it occurred.

Treating a bruise includes using a cold compress, elevating an extremity if it is on an arm or leg, taking acetaminophen for discomfort, and after the initial 48 hours, using a warm compress to help the flow of blood in the area.

While most bruises will resolve on their own, it is important to get medical attention if the bruise has a lot of swelling and pain or if it doesn’t start to resolve in two weeks and is still present after a month. Any bruising of the head or the eye should be followed up with a physician.

You can schedule an appointment with a physician at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center by calling 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Safety Tips for Driving at Night

The National Safety Council estimates that even though we do only a quarter of our driving at night, approximately 50% of all traffic accidents occur after dark. This leaves many wondering why so many accidents take place at night.

One of the main reasons is that at night, our depth perception is reduced, as is peripheral vision and the ability to see colors. We are also more likely to be more tired at night which can affect our reflexes. People who don’t get enough sleep or who have been working long hours are more prone to having an accident.

Another factor that can affect our ability to drive and see well at night is age. According to the National Safety Council, a person who is older than fifty years of age may need twice as much light to see well as a person who is only 30. Older drivers may also have compromised vision as a result of degenerative eye diseases or cataracts.

There are a few precautions drivers can take to prevent accidents while driving at night. Jamaica Hospital’s Trauma service and the National Safety Council recommends the following:

  • Keeping the windshield clean
  • Making sure headlights are aimed properly
  • Reducing  your speed
  • Turning your headlights on as soon as it starts to get dark so others can see you
  • Increasing  the distance between your car and the car ahead
  • Pulling over if you feel too tired to drive
  • Getting at least seven hours of sleep

Older drivers are encouraged to get annual eye exams to make sure that their eyes are healthy. These annual exams can also see if there are cataracts forming which can impair vision, and can check to see if eyeglass prescriptions are needed.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with an eye doctor at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-5900.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Jamaica Hospital’s Trauma Team Offers Driving Safety Tips to Seniors

Everyone remembers the day they passed their road test and received their driver’s license. Getting a license opens up a world of options for drivers and provides them with a sense of independence that they didn’t have before.

If you received your license a long time ago, and are now a senior citizen driver, you may begin to notice certain limitations that could potentially impact your ability to operate a vehicle. While for some, driving at an advanced age may no longer be advised, most seniors can still enjoy the benefits of driving by taking a few extra precautions.

Jamaica Hospital’s Trauma Division is offering the following tips to senior drivers to help them avoid injury to themselves, other drivers or pedestrians while on the road.

  • Have Your Vision and Hearing Checked Regularly – Be aware of any ocular conditions, such as cataracts, glaucoma, or macular degeneration that might affect your vision. If you wear glasses or contacts, make sure you wear them while driving. Similarly, if you require a hearing aid, make sure you don’t drive without one as it is an important device to help you hear car horns and emergency sirens.
  • Be Aware of Other Health Factors – Pain or stiffness in the joints can limit mobility and your ability to check mirrors or turn your head. Chronic fatigue can be a problem, especially during long drives, and certain chronic conditions such as diabetes or seizure disorders can affect your safety. Side effects from medications can also impact driving and should be discussed with your doctor or pharmacist before driving.
  • Know Your Limitations – As you age, it’s important to acknowledge that certain motor functions might not be as sharp as they once were and should be taken into consideration while on the road. It is advised that seniors should increase their following distance, use their brakes earlier, try to anticipate situations before they occur, and try to avoid highly trafficked areas when possible.
  • Avoid Dangerous Driving Conditions – Controlling your car in inclement weather, such as rain or snow is more difficult and therefore should be avoided. Driving at night can also pose increased risks because reaction times are often affected during this time of day.  Lastly, driving during rush hour presents additional opportunities for accidents to occur because other drivers tend to be more aggressive and inpatient. Under these conditions.

Getting older doesn’t mean that you can no longer drive. By following these tips, you can continue to drive without feeling as if you are a danger to yourself or others.

If however, you feel concerned about your ability to drive, it doesn’t mean you have to give up your independence. There are many car fare services and public transportation options that can still get you where you want to go.

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

September is National Traumatic Brain Injury Month

September is recognized as National Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month. The main purpose of this observance is to raise awareness about traumatic brain injuries and how to recognize, prevent, and treat it one if it occurs.

The most common type of head injury is called a concussion, which is known as a mild traumatic brain injury. These can happen to anyone, at any age that has experienced a blow to the head. Signs and symptoms of a concussion can include:

  • Headache
  • Blurry vision
  • Nausea
  • Feeling tired
  • Anxiety
  • Sadness
  • Difficulty thinking clearly
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Loss of consciousness

In most cases, people will recover from a concussion in a week to ten days, with adults usually recovering faster than children. While many times traumatic brain injuries can’t be prevented because they are due to an accident, there are a few things a person can do to protect themselves:

  • Anyone who participates in a sport that has physical contact should wear proper head gear
  • When riding in a car everyone should wear a seat belt
  • Helmets should always be worn when riding a bicycle
  • People who are prone to falling should walk with the assistance of a cane, a walker or have someone with them for assistance.

If you or someone you know experiences a head trauma, it is advised that they to be seen immediately by a physician or be taken to the nearest emergency room.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Jamaica Hospital Offers Information to Parents About Sports-Related Concussions

This fall, millions of children and teens across America will be returning to school and many of them will be trying out and playing for their school’s various sports teams.

While the health benefits, exercise and comradery associated with youth sports is undeniable, parents must also educate themselves and their children about the potential dangers of sports-related concussions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) a concussion is “a type of traumatic brain injury—or TBI—caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. This fast movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging the brain cells.”

Largely associated with football, concussions are actually prevalent in many major sports including soccer, gymnastics, hockey and lacrosse and they can occur while participating in any physical activity.

To minimize the chances of sustaining a concussion, it is important for coaches and parents to create a culture of safety in youth athletics. This includes teaching proper safety techniques on the field of play and making sure that children follow those rules.  Another key to reduce the chances of a child or teen suffering complications from a concussion is to educate them on their signs and symptoms. If children are aware of not only the symptoms, but the dangers of not reporting a concussion, they are more likely to inform a coach or parent when they experience one.

Symptoms of a concussion can include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Headache or “pressure” in head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Balance problems or dizziness, or double or blurry vision.
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
  • Confusion, or concentration or memory problems
  • Just not “feeling right,” or “feeling down.”

It is important to understand that not all concussions are created equal. Those who suffer one many experience some, but not all symptoms and the severity of those symptoms may vary from person to person.

If you believe that your child has suffered a concussion, you should remove them from play immediately and have them seen by their healthcare provider who can assess the severity of his or her injury via an examination and conduct additional tests if necessary. Typically, treatment for a concussion involves rest and restricting the patient from activity.

If your child does not have a healthcare provider, or they are unavailable when they sustain a concussion, you should take your child to a nearby hospital emergency department, such as the one at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Safety Tips on How to Avoid Being a Distracted Pedestrian

There has been a great deal of attention paid to the dangers associated with distracted driving.  We have seen the public service announcements warning drivers not to text or talk on their phones while behind the wheel, but what about the dangers of being a distracted pedestrian?

There has been a recent and dramatic increase in the number of pedestrians struck by automobiles and killed in recent years. While some of this can be attributed to distracted drivers, those not paying attention to their surroundings while crossing the street has also been reported to play a role in many incidents. One study conducted by researchers at Ohio State University concluded that the number of pedestrians (or “petextrians” as they are commonly referred to) injured while on their cellphones has doubled over the last decade.

Studies suggest that distracted walkers take longer to cross the street and are more likely to ignore traffic lights or neglect to look both ways while crossing. These problems are particularly prevalent among teens, but it’s important to note that all age groups are vulnerable to these dangers.

Safety experts agree that the most important advice for pedestrians is to never use a cell phone or other electronic device while walking. Here are some other tips to stay safe and avoid injury while crossing the streets:

  • Look left, right and left again before crossing the street; looking left a second time is necessary because a car can cover a lot of distance in a short amount of time
  • Make eye contact with drivers of oncoming vehicles to make sure they see you
  • Be aware of drivers even when you’re in a crosswalk; vehicles have blind spots
  • Don’t wear headphones while walking
  • If your view is blocked, move to a place where you can see oncoming traffic
  • Never rely on a car to stop
  • Only cross at designated crosswalks
  • Wear bright and/or reflective clothing
  • Walk in groups

Walking is one of the best things we can do to stay healthy, but only if we put safety first. Jamaica Hospital’s Trauma Division wants to warn our community that the risk for injury and death escalates when a pedestrian is not focused on his or her environment and our staff wants to spread the word on how pedestrians can avoid senseless injuries and death.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.