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Address Identification:

Imagine this….  Chas v'shalom you need an ambulance for something life-threatening (or maybe B"H because it's for the delivery of a baby).  You call the ambulance, and you wait; and you wait; and you wait. Finally the ambulance shows up at your door.  You ask, "What took you so long?  I called over 40 minutes ago!!".  The ambulance crew responds, "We couldn't find the address!".  You respond, "The mailman has no problem finding it!".  The ambulance crew's final reply, "The mailman delivers the mail in the daytime".
 
If you think this doesn't happen, you're wrong.  Residential areas are notorious for poor external lighting, front yard overgrowth, and little foresight for emergency situations.
 
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE!!  Make sure your house numbers are CLEARLY visible from the street at all times - especially AT NIGHT.  This can be done using solar powered numbers, numbers on a contrasting background with a light overhead, or reflective numbers on a contrasting background.  They should also be placed on an area that is usually not obscured - such as the garage door.  It's a small change, but it can make all the difference in the world.


Fire & Carbon Monoxide, Prevention & Safety:

Carbon monoxide is a true silent killer.  It is a colorless, odorless gas that can affect you without warning.  It is especially dangerous for our community as we tend to leave stoves and ovens on over Shabbos and Yom Tov.  If you have a carbon monoxide leak overnight, a carbon monoxide detector can truly make the difference between you waking up, or C'V not waking up.  Fire, although more obvious, can be just as deadly, if not more so.  Please don't take the "it won't happen to me" stance.  Install or test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, TODAY!

For more information of fire & carbon monoxide prevention & safety, please visit nfpa.org/safetytips.

 

Street Safety:

It is very important to realize that the low-light hazards of residential neighborhoods extend to the street as well.  Not all streets have proper sidewalks.  This causes most people to walk in the street.  Drivers will have a difficult time seeing you - especially if they are the slightest bit distracted.  Please remember to wear something reflective that can alert a driver to your presence.  Never assume that you will be seen.

Medications:

 Please remember that it is never a good idea to take someone else's prescription-based medication. Doctors prescribe medications knowing everything relevant about the patient for whom they've been prescribed. Individuals taking medications that haven't been prescribed for them may experience serious adverse affects (including death!).  As always, consult your physician if you have any questions.

Additionally, please remember to keep ALL MEDICATION - even those bought over-the-counter - away from children at all times.  Any medication, no matter how benign, can cause serious injury or death to a child at much smaller doses than would be necessary for adults to have the same reaction. 


Summer:

As the summer months approach, outdoor activities increase drastically.  Unfortunately, this rise in activities is usually accompanied by a rise in injuries, not just from the activities themselves, but from insects that come out to play as well.  
 
Below are some of the more common things you can do to have a safe summer.  For further info, the links for our sources are listed further down.  Feel free to check them out.  If you are unsure as to any information contained on these sites, please consult your pediatrician.
 
As always, the information listed is broad.  Not all advice will apply to activities or situations that you or your family participates in.  They should be used as a guide in conjunction with simple common sense.


Dehydration:

Regardless of the activity, it is important to maintain proper hydration.  Dehydration and electrolyte imbalances can cause dizziness, fainting, change in mental status, cramps, etc.  Also, remember that although one's inclination is not to think so, a person can get dehydrated while swimming.  One of the easiest ways to determine if a body is properly hydrated is by its liquid waste.  The body rids itself of everything it doesn't need.  When the liquid waste is clear/almost clear, this indicates that the body is now ridding itself of excess water.
 

Sports:

When playing sports, always remember to wear the proper safety gear.  This includes elbow pads, knee pads, helmets, etc.  Wearing the proper safety gear greatly reduces the likelihood of injury, and greatly reduces the severity of the injury should one occur.
 

Swimming:

In a pool - It is important to remember that the surrounding areas of a pool can get very slippery, and they are usually surrounded by hard flooring.  Slip & fall injuries are common.  Please remember that surrounding pool areas are for walking, not running.  Also remember that no game/activity should ever include holding some else under water.  If allowed by the pool, use caution when jumping into the water from the surrounding area.  Severe injuries can result from accidentally landing on someone.  Be sure to use a pool with adequate life-guard coverage. Be alert at all times.
 
At the beach -  Please remember that swimming in the ocean is nothing like swimming in a pool.  There is a risk of sea life entering the swimming area, as well as current and undertow.  Undertow/current can pull individuals deeper into the water (and under water).  Jelly fish can sting, causing injury and allergic reactions.  Sharks, while rare, can enter the area and attack swimmers, mistaking them for injured fish which sharks use for food.  Be alert at all times.
 

Outdoors & Wilderness:

Since the list of outdoor & wilderness activities are so numerous, we will focus on some general guidelines. 
 
1) Do not wear colognes or perfumes.  Use soaps and shampoos that are unscented.  Animals and insects alike are attracted to a myriad of odors.  The more you smell like an item if interest such as a mate, or food, the more likely you are to have an encounter of some kind.
 
2) Make sure that all food items are well-packed in air-tight containers.
 
3) Make sure that you properly dispose of any garbage.  If possible, garbage should be placed in containers that have tight sealing lids.  Make sure garbage disposal areas are kept far from camping/dwelling areas.
 
4) Always make sure you tell people exactly where you will be.
 
5) Have a way to communicate with someone in case of an emergency.  Do not go somewhere off the beaten path that has no cell service if you do not have a satellite phone.
 
6) Plan for the unexpected, and prepare accordingly.  If you take medication, take extra.
 
It is always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared.


Ticks:

Ticks are insects that are commonly found in tall grassy areas.  They live via Hematophagy (the process of consuming blood for nourishment).  They frequently attach themselves to moist, warm, creased areas of the body such as the nap of the neck, groin, armpit, etc.  They are usually discovered when itching is felt.


Removal should be done carefully to avoid having the tick break off, leaving its head and mouth in the skin (which would be bad).  Be careful not to squeeze the tick as you don't want to help it inject any bacteria that it may be carrying.  Using a surgical tweezer (needle tip), grasp the head of the tick gently and as close to the skin as possible, and then pull straight up.
 
It is a good idea to keep the tick frozen and take it to your physician to have it tested.  Ticks are carriers for many diseases.  This will aid your physician in determining how best to treat you.
 
Get into the habit of conducting a search of your body when you come inside from any activity that finds you in an area of tall grass.

Here are two links on you tube which demonstrate proper tick removal:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Na6_CORwTE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wotB38WrRY

As always, remember to clean and disinfect the area.
 
References:

CDC - Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
www.cdc.gov/features/stopticks/

WebMD
www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/wound-care-10/sports-safety-equipment

The American Red Cross
www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/water-safety