With Labor Day weekend around the corner, individuals from coast to coast are excited for a much deserved three day weekend. Outdoor activities, road trips and barbecues are on the agenda for millions of Americans.
While outdoor activities pose a great deal of excitement and thrills for the participants involved, certain activities also pose some sort of risk. Below we examine some dangerous popular labor day activities.
Boating & Watersports
Boating and water activities are incredibly popular. During labor day lakes, reservoirs and bodies of water are popular destinations.
With the three day weekend comes adventurers looking for a good time. It is important to remember to moderate alcohol consumption, alcohol increases the potential for accidents and injuries. Be careful and watch out for:
- Inexperienced boat operators
- Excessive speeds
- Boaters under the influence
Ensure that all members on board have a life jacket and stay away from a propeller as much as possible. In 2017, more than 4,200 boating accidents and 650 deaths resulted from boating activities.
Swimming & Diving
Swimmingis a great way to exercise and burn calories. It's a great full body workout. However, susceptible individuals are at risk of drowning if they cannot swim, suffer physical or psychological disabilities, or are under the influence of alcohol.
Dangers involving diving can include individuals diving into too shallow of water. When an individual hits their head on the bottom of a pool, the injuries can be catastrophic. From facial contusions and fractures, brain injuries, neck and spinal cord injuries and in extreme cases deaths from injuries or drowning.
Before you dive into any body of water, ensure the depth is deep enough. If you are unsure do not dive in.
Every year, individuals across the United States suffer injuries from firework accidents. From burns, disfigurements, loss of digits and limbs, and in extreme circumstances death can occur. Always ensure to follow local laws and regulations.
When lighting fireworks, ensure you move to a safe distance immediately after lighting the firework. Helpful safety tips also include:
- Never allow children to play with fireworks
- Always have an adult light fireworks
- Never point fireworks at another living being
- Have water easily accessible in the event of a fire
- Never attempt to re-ignite a firework
Firework injuries skyrocketed in 2020. More than 15,600 firework injuries occurred in 2020 alone as a result of auto accidents. Anyone can lose a limb or lose their life to fireworks. In the Summer of 2021, a professional hockey player lost his life in a fireworks accident.
Outdoor Activities and Heat Exposure
It may seem odd to say, but simply sitting in a hot area on a hot Summer day poses risk. While the characteristics of an individual including age, weight, pre-existing medical conditions or certain medications can increase an individual's exposure to a heat stroke.
Children under the age of four, and seniors over the age of sixty-five need to be on the lookout for heat stroke symptoms. Individuals that are dehydrated or under the influence of drugs or alcohol are also at a higher risk of heat strokes. Some common warning signs of heat stroke include:
- Very hot body temperatures over 103°
- Rapid and fast pulse
- Dizziness & nausea
If you or a member of your group are experiencing any signs or symptoms of heat stroke, move to a shady or cool area. Cool the individual experiencing these symptoms as quickly as possible. Cold water drenched in a towel or cotton wrapped around the symptomatic individual can help alleviate the symptoms and lower their body temperature. If the victim is unresponsive, call 911.
With negative repercussions of climate change, the temperatures individuals are exposed to will continue to rise. Ensure that at-risk individuals feel comfortable and ideally are in shaded or cooler areas.
The EPA estimates that 1300 deaths are attributed to heat strokes in a given year. With hot temperatures and extreme weather facing many regions of the country, it is important to be extra vigilant in 2021 and on.
It is important to socialize and enjoy three day weekends responsibly. Remember to take precautions regarding water activities, fireworks and dangers associated with heat. Listen to your body and keep an eye out for your loved ones.