Avoiding and Preventing Injuries
It’s easy to think accidents and injuries happen to other people.
But the truth is that all of us are susceptible, and injuries are a lot more common than you may realize.
In fact, according to the Washington Department of Health, injuries are the leading cause of death and disability for people between the ages of 1 and 44.
Even more alarming, injuries typically do not occur at random. The Department of Health reports that injuries occur in highly predictable patterns with recognizable risk factors.
Brad Younggren, MD an emergency physician and associate trauma medical director with EvergreenHealth, agrees.
“There are definitely predictable patterns that we see in certain seasons with summer being one of the highest for injuries,” he says. “People are more active outside during these months, so not surprisingly, the number of injury and trauma cases is higher.”
Dr. Younggren says the ED staff sees more accidents during this season from water sports, such as swimming and boating, as well as other mobile activities, such as biking, motorcycle riding, and skateboarding,
Car accidents also tend to increase with nicer weather.
The good news is that many accidents and injuries are preventable — with the right awareness and precautions.
Dr. Younggren recommends knowing what can cause common trauma injuries and what can be done to avoid them.
#1 - Drowning
Water recreational activities are popular pastimes in the Puget Sound area. People of all ages participate in swimming, boating, canoeing, kayaking, and more.
These activities can offer many fitness benefits, but they can also be very dangerous – and even fatal – if proper safety precautions aren’t taken.
Dr. Younggren says drowning is often the result of lack of supervision or proper equipment.
Additionally, he says he’s known people who have had near drowning experiences because they put themselves at risk by overextending their skill level.
“Paddle boarding, for example, is a popular activity that is accessible to many people,” he says. “And many people like to try this sport, even if they aren’t strong swimmers. If you run into problems out in the middle of the lake — where there is likely no supervision — then you put yourself in immediate danger, especially if you aren’t wearing a lifejacket.”
#2 - Motor Vehicle Accidents
Motor vehicle crashes are another leading cause of unintentional injury death or major trauma.
“We’re seeing more distracted drivers today, whether they are texting, talking on the phone, or anything else that is preventing them from fully focusing on the road,” says Dr. Younggren.
Motor vehicle accidents are also claiming the lives of children who are not properly secured in their passenger seats.
Dr. Younggren encourages parents to get car seat checks to make sure their children’s seats are properly installed.
EvergreenHealth offers both a car seat safety class for new parents, and a car seat checkup clinic to make sure your child is protected.
“It’s true that accidents do happen, but more often than not, they can be avoided, saving a lot of heartache and health problems,” Dr. Younggren says. “Awareness is the first step.”