July 3rd, 2019

If you’re like most of us, you’re ready to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday. And if you have a full four-day weekend off work, you’ve got plenty of time for lots of activities.

Just make sure you celebrate safely.

The Independence Day holiday often includes barbecues, fireworks and, for adults, alcohol. It also raises the risk for injuries.

“Almost every July 4 holiday, we see people come into our Emergency Room with burn-related injuries due to barbecue grills,” says emergency medicine physician Michael Prasto, MD, with Grand View Health. “We also see an increase in trip-and-fall injuries, often due to alcohol impairment.”

Keep yourself—and your family—safe. Follow these three tips:

  1. Clean that grill. Remove grease and fat buildup from the grills and in the trays below the grills. These are leading causes of grill fires (July is the peak month for house fires caused by grills, according to the National Fire Protection Association). Also, check the propane gas tank and hose for leaks. When you grill, create a “safety zone” so you’re well away from your home, railings, overhead branches, children and pets. And never leave the grill unattended.
  1. Drink responsibly. If you choose to drink, know your limit, and pace yourself accordingly. On average, a person metabolizes 10-12 grams of alcohol an hour, according to ResponsibleDrinking.org. And if you’re drinking, do not drive. The National Safety Council predicts that nationally, 529 people will die and 64,500 will suffer serious injuries in motor vehicle accidents this holiday, and nearly 40 percent of those accidents will involve alcohol.
  1. Leave fireworks to the professionals. Attend a public fireworks display. “It’s the best way to prevent burns from fireworks-related injuries,” Prasto says.

Bonus tip: If you’re grilling (or if you insist on using fireworks), keep a bucket of water or hose nearby. Also, make sure a cell phone is in reach. If you suffer any burn injury, run the affected area under cold water for 15 minutes or until the pain subsides. For serious burns, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Need care for a common illness or minor injury over the weekend? Grand View Urgent Care locations in Quakertown and Kulpsville are open every day—even on July 4! Book an appointment.