Summer fun days are here, but with more outdoor activities come more injuries.
Physicians at Cedars-Sinai Medial Center want to remind Angelenos that when school is out and the weather is warm, people are more vulnerable to serious accidents or injuries. Cedars-Sinai representatives said there is an approximate 20-percent increase in the number of bone fractures every summer.
“When the weather gets warmer and people are out and about, the emergency room sees more visits,” said Dr. Joseph Giaconi, a musculoskeletal radiologist at Cedars-Sinai.
Giaconi said just by the fact that people leave their homes more often in the summer, there is an increase in motor vehicle collisions and pedestrian accidents. But he also said there is an increase in injuries and accidents among children riding bikes, rollerblading or riding scooters without helmets or safety gear.
“Kids see lots of wrist injuries, fractured femurs or ankles. These fractures can be devastating if they involve growth plates,” Giaconi said. “Growth occurs at the end of bones and growth can be arrested, resulting in shorter arms, legs or deformed wrists. And we recommend anytime you’re out there with your kids, they need to be wearing helmets. Because it’s one thing to fracture a bone … what we can’t fix is a really bad brain injury. That can be severely devastating.”
The Red Cross reports that two in three Americans said they had been involved in some kind of summer emergency, ranging from serious broken bones or torn ligaments to more life-threatening situations.
Giaconi said he sees ankle sprains, neck fractures, dislocated joints, broken bones and more. From monkey bars and beach volleyball to diving into the shallow end of the pool, Giaconi encouraged people to be careful.
He said among adults, Cedars deals with an increase of accidents that involve drugs or alcohol.
“If you’re going to ride a bike, don’t drink,” he said. “We also see when people are drinking, partying, having a good time, and they get these crazy ideas to jump off the roof into the pool. We see people who miss the pool. Those can be devastating fractures of their ankles or legs. … When you smash the joint service of your ankle, you’re never the same.”
If a finger fracture goes untreated it can lose function, but a shattered kneecap means the leg won’t function at all without surgery, he said.
“Get out and have fun, but always have safety in mind,” Giaconi said. “We want everyone to be active. We don’t want to discourage activity. But with some level of activity there is going to be some level of risk.”
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