Santa Rosa, CA – June 1, 2017 – Summer is an ideal time to enjoy the variety of outdoor activities Sonoma County has to offer. However, for adults and children alike, additional risks for injury or illness are present, including heat-related illnesses, drowning, and diseases from bug bites.
Drowning is a leading cause of unintentional death in children ages 1 to 4, and the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death for people of all ages. From 2012-2016 there were 12 drowning deaths among Sonoma County residents for an annual average of 2 deaths/year. Sixty-seven percent of these drowning deaths occurred in natural bodies of water including lakes, ocean and rivers.
“We just want people to be safe and healthy,” said Dr. Karen Milman, Health Officer for the County of Sonoma. “A drowning death is devastating. Even when a person survives a near drowning, there may be serious injury. These injuries can result in serious neurological damage and significant lifelong health consequences.” Given the increase of visitors to Sonoma County over the summer, the Department of Health Services urges individuals to enjoy our rivers and the ocean safely.
Whether you pull an unconscious person from the water or see someone suddenly keel over and become unresponsive, calling 911 should be your first action. For drowning victims, reviving a person involves mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Knowing how to safely perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is important for anyone spending time in and around water.
For those situations when a person does not have a pulse, Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) can help provide victims the extra time needed to survive until an emergency vehicle arrives.
With some preparation, these types of injuries can be avoided. So take a few minutes to review the Summer Safety tips and be safe and stay healthy this summer. Make this summer memorable for outdoor fun, not for a trip to hospital.
Drowning Prevention: CDC at www.cdc.gov/safechild/drowning
Fall Prevention: National Council on Aging at www.ncoa.org/healthy-aging/falls-prevention
Extreme Heat: CDC at www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat
Mosquito Bites: CDC at www.cdc.gov/features/stopmosquitoes
Preventing Tick Bites: CDC at www.cdc.gov/lyme/prev
Summer Safety Tips
For children ages 1 to 4 years, swimming pools pose the greatest risk. It is important to make safety a priority in and around the water.
- Actively supervise children in or near water.
- Make sure your family knows how to swim.
- Secure pools with appropriate barriers, covers, and alarms.
- Know how to perform hands only CPR – on adults and children.
- Do not bring alcohol to the beach or for boating activities.
- Always wear a life jacket for floating on the Russian River or any boating activity
Beat the Heat
Whether you are working or playing outside in the summer, if you are not use to the heat, or if the weather is hot, you can be at risk for a heat-related illness. Take steps to protect yourself:
- Never ever leave kids or pets unattended in a car or other vehicle, even if the windows are cracked open
- Wear loose, lightweight and light-colored clothing.
- Take frequent water breaks.
- Apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15.
- Stay cool with cool showers or baths.
Stop Bug Bites and Disease
Protect yourself and your family by preventing bites and diseases, like West Nile virus, which can be transmitted by insects.
- When outdoors, use an effective insect repellent containing active ingredients with EPA approval as repellents for the skin or clothes.
- Check yourself and your children for ticks. If you find one, don’t panic. There are several tick removal devices on the market, but a plain set of fine-tipped tweezers will remove a tick effectively.