The Fourth of July is right around the corner! When I think of July 4th, I think of fun, family, friends, food, festivities and fireworks. However, the truth is more than 91,000 Americans sustain serious injuries between July 4-5, the highest two-day total for hospitalizations throughout the year.
It should come as no surprise that fireworks are the top cause of injuries. More than half of all the fireworks-related injuries sustained by Americans each year occur during the first week of July.
Hands and fingers (30%) are the body part most frequently injured by fireworks, as fuses burn faster than advertised, shortening the time for people to move. Injuries sustained from fireworks can include dislocations, broken bones, loss of sight and hearing, disfiguration, amputations, and even death.
If you are setting off bottle rockets, rockets, sparklers or any other type of fireworks, always exercise extreme caution. To protect your hands, read and follow all instructions, don’t trust the wick, and stand 500 feet away from the launch site.
Aside from fireworks, Independence Day offers ample opportunity for preventable injuries. July’s high temperatures combine with family time, games, swimming, boating, and parades to create a perfect storm for Americans.
That is why we compiled some of our top injury prevention tips for you:
Good Hydration is Key!
Believe it or not, by the time you feel thirsty, the concentration of your blood has already increased by 2%. Proper hydration is essential for a broad range of functions, including increasing brain and digestive function, regulating body temperature and lubricating joints. Heat illness is the enemy of fun, causing fatigue, dizziness and muscle cramps.
Without even checking the forecast, it’s safe to assume that Independence Day will be hot near you. In the heat, you’ll expel more fluid through sweat, so it’s more important than ever to fuel up on water. According to the U.S. Institute of Medicine, adults can produce as much as three or four liters of sweat per hour in extreme conditions, so keep the bottle handy and limit alcohol consumption.
Backyard Activities Are Fun...But Stretch First!
Don't Be Afraid To Ask For Some Help Lifting
Whether you’re transporting a cooler full of chilled drinks, cornhole boards or lawn furniture, don’t lift alone. Grab a family member or friend to help you lift heavy objects, and avoid shoulder injuries, back pain and lumbar injuries. To prevent injuries, always bend at your knees instead of the waist, and lift with your glutes and quads instead of your back and groin.
Be Mindful Of Your Posture
While preparing food by the grill, sink or counter, stand up to your full height and straighten your back. Keep your knees slightly bent to prevent ankle pain and avoid the risk of fainting. Position your feet shoulder-width apart and distribute your weight more towards your toes, instead of your heels.
If you’re sitting to eat, watch fireworks or enjoy a parade, place your feet flat on the ground or a footrest to keep them from dangling unsupported. Always keep your knees at hip-level or below and your ankles out in front of your knees. Avoid crossing your legs, relax your shoulders and ensure that your seat supports your middle and lower back.
Our entire team at Crystal Lake Physical Therapy wishes you a safe, happy and healthy 4th of July!!! But if you find yourself sprained or strained on July 5th, don't hesitate to call us to set up a free injury screening or an evaluation! Click here to Schedule
Emily Craigen, owner of Crystal Lake Physical Therapy, is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and a local Crystal Lake resident who is excited to bring health and wellness to her community.