Good weather with a chance of summer injury

23 Apr 2010 | Pfc. Justin M. Boling

The summer sun and its elevated temperatures bring with them increased opportunities for outdoor activities and injury.

Marines are taught basic lifesaving skills during Marine Corps recruit training, and many of these skills can be applied to summer injuries if they have not been forgotten. If service members need to be refreshed, the answers are as close as the corpsmen at the Branch Medical Clinic.

“Corpsmen are always available to suggest tips to Marines on how to stay safe during outdoor activities,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Gabriel Fortes, a corpsman with Marine Air Logistics Squadron 31.

Brushing up on lifesaving skills and assessing risks while planning outdoor activities may seem tedious when a person just wants to have fun, but it is important. The simple knowledge of how to handle the most common injuries can prevent more serious problems and possibly save lives.

Three common health safety risks are prominent in the summer: wound dressing and hygiene, insect bites and stings, and heat and sun injuries.

For emergency wounds, cuts or scrapes, bug bites and stings, the most pressing issue is cleaning the wound properly. The cleaner a wound is kept, the less likely it is to become infected. People who know they are allergic to stinging insects should always carry the Twinjet (epinephrine) that has been prescribed by their primary care provider. The Twinjet is an injection tool that uses epinephrine to prevent a serious allergic reaction.

Initially use peroxide to clean the wound and an antiseptic ointment once. The drier you keep the wound, the faster it will heal, said Petty Officer 3rd Class Tony Davis, a corpsman from the Air Station. Keep checking the area for infection. Do not scratch or bother the wound — let it heal.

“The most important advice for a serious wound or injury is to stop the bleeding and call for emergency care,” said Fortes.

According to Petty Officer 2nd Class Amanda Miller, a corpsman at the BMC, the sun alone can be very dangerous if summer fun seekers are not prepared or aware.

To function in the Fightertown’s summer temperatures, hydration is essential. Damage done by heat can disorient an individual and is most dangerous because it can go unnoticed.

“If someone is feeling disoriented from the heat, take immediate action to correct the problem,” Fortes said.

A person suffering from heat injury needs to get out of the sun and into a shady area. Then, all unnecessary clothing should be removed and one should drink fluids in order to prevent further injury.

“Do not try to force fluids,” Fortes said. “Forcing fluids will only cause the body to reject them.”

Keeping the skin covered from open sunlight by wearing long sleeves or applying sun block to stop sun burns will also prevent the havoc the sun can wreak. When you begin noticing fatigue or other symptoms of heat exhaustion stop the activity, rest and hydrate before starting again. It is important to assess health risks and hazards during outdoor activities.

A way to alleviate hazards during summer activities is by having simple first aid equipment on hand. Basic first aid kits may be available at any local store that has safety equipment. Always have water on hand, and if you need to take prescription medication, always bring enough to take if an unforeseen circumstance is encountered. Also make sure to dress accordingly and wear proper personal protective equipment for the activity planned.

“Always let someone knows where you are going when heading outdoors,” said Fortes.

The summer season is with many opportunities for outdoor fun, so before heading out make sure steps have been taken to prevent an emergency. Sometimes the best way to avoid a problem is just to be prepared for it.