Memorial Day is the traditional start of summer, which means time with family and friends in the sun. Whether it is grilling safety or the proper use of sunscreen, Methodist Hospital wants you to have a safe holiday.
“No one ever plans to get injured, but we know things can happen,” commented Dr. Chandra Ellis, medical director of the Burn and Reconstructive Center at Methodist Hospital. “Taking a few extra precautions around your celebration can go a long way toward preserving the fun!”
One of the most important ways to avoid sunburn is the use of sunscreen, Dr. Ellis said. Make sure you are using sunscreen of at least 30 SPF, and remember that it should be applied 30 minutes before going out in the sun. Sunscreen needs to be reapplied regularly, especially if you are sweating profusely or spending time in the water. It’s important to know sunscreen isn’t appropriate for children under six months of age, and all children under one year old should be kept out of direct sunlight. In general, everyone should avoid tanning for long periods, particularly between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
“On cloudy days, those UV rays are still present, and the capacity for a sunburn still exists. Just because you can’t see the sun doesn’t mean there’s not a danger there,” said Dr. Ellis.
The start of summer also means grilling season for many, which should always include an extra serving of caution on the menu. It starts with setting up a safe, well-ventilated area for the grill that includes a no-kid zone. June sees, on average, the second highest amount of grill fires every year, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Though gas grills are typically more dangerous, both gas and charcoal grills can be responsible for burn injuries as wells as home, structure, and outdoor fires.
Additional Safety Precautions to Consider When Grilling:
- Keep your grill at least 10 feet away from your house, bushes, or other flammable materials.
- Never, ever use a match to check for leaks. You can find leaks by spraying soapy water on gas line connections. If you see water bubbles, there is a leak.
- Never use an accelerant such as gasoline to light a grill, bonfire or debris pile. Gas fumes can ignite and cause a large explosion.
- Be careful when using lighter fluid. Do not add fluid on an already lit fire because the flames can flash back up into the container and explode.
- Never try to light a gas grill with the lid closed, as trapped gas or fumes could cause an explosion.
- Always wear short sleeves and/or tight-fitting clothing while grilling.
- Use utensils with long handles to stay clear of hot surfaces.
- Always shut off the propane tank valve when not in use.
- Dispose of hot coals properly: Soak with water, then stir and soak again to make sure the fire is out.
“Burns are painful,” said Ellis. “But for very minor burns, that pain should go away within a few days. If not, call your doctor or go to the nearest emergency room.”
While we hope your holiday weekend and summer are a safe one, should something happen to you or your children, we are available to treat you with around-the-clock care. In collaboration with Burn and Reconstructive Centers of America, Methodist Hospital is certified and equipped to treat all burn types for both adult and pediatric patients. Learn more about the Burn Center and conditions and treatments here.