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Stay safe this Fourth of July

June 24, 2019

In addition to common ED visits such as chest pain, abdominal pain and fever, ED Physician Jon Garlovsky, D.O. sees a spike in visits during Fourth of July weekend.

Here’s his Top 5 list of reasons people end up in the emergency department, along with prevention tips.

1) Firework burns and injuries

“With fireworks, the most serious injuries always seem to include the hands and face,” says Dr. Garlovsky. “People often handle what they think are unexploded fireworks after they light them, or they’re heavily intoxicated and make bad decisions with fireworks.”

Prevention tips

  • Drink in moderation and take extra caution if you are going to handle fireworks.
  • Do not handle unexploded fireworks after they are lit.
  • Soak them in water if they do not light after trying to ignite them.
  • Do not hold fireworks in your hand or near your face after they are ignited.

2) Barbecue-related injuries

These injuries often involve the mishandling of lighter fluid or smoke inhalation,” Dr. Garlovsky says. 

Prevention tips

  • Do not light a barbecue grill indoors.
  • Don’t light a charcoal barbecue near flammable materials.
  • Make sure you light your grill in a well-ventilated area.
  • Keep small children away from grills. 

3) Drowning 

“Over the holiday season, you’ll hear about drowning incidents and they often involve alcohol or using watercraft,” Dr. Garlovsky says.

Prevention tips

  • Avoid a spinal injury by refraining from diving into the shallow end of a pool or diving where you don’t know the depth.
  • If you are using watercraft, regardless of how small, wear a life vest.
  • Try to swim with others rather than alone. 
  • Children can start to drown in seconds. Never leave them unattended near a pool.

4) Sunburn


“People are at risk even when it is cloudy,” Dr. Garlovsky says.

Prevention tips

  • Apply sunscreen frequently of at least SPF 15, but preferably 30 or higher.
  • Cover your head with a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Reapply sunscreen throughout the day.
  • Wear sunglasses.
  • Be cautious when the sun is strongest – from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

5) Alcohol-related illnesses injuries


 “If you drink in excess, it can lead to so many problems,” Dr. Garlovsky cautions. “People are at risk for dehydration, injuries and fights.”

Prevention tips

  • Don’t drink and drive.
  • Drink in moderation.
  • Do not combine narcotics and benzodiazepine drugs with alcohol.

Call 911 if you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency.

NCH has a state-of-the-art Level II Trauma Center as well as a dedicated pediatric emergency department staffed with specialists from NCH and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Learn more about how we care for you at Call 847-618-1000 to reach the emergency department.