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White Plains Hospital Offers Tips for Fourth of July Safety

June 26, 2015

White Plains, NY (June 26, 2015) – Independence Day provides a great opportunity to relax, and you may find yourself at a barbeque with some friends. These get-togethers often involve fireworks as well as alcohol and other potential dangers, so it’s important to stay safe. With one of the busiest emergency rooms in the region, each year White Plains Hospital sees patients who land in the ER due to mishaps on the Fourth of July.

White Plains Hospital offers the following tips to stay safe on the Fourth of July:

  1. Fireworks - For the first time in decades, some small fireworks are now legal to purchase and use in parts of New York. Nevertheless, it’s still a better idea to let the professionals handle the fireworks displays – particularly if children are at the Fourth of July party. According to Rafael Torres, MD, Medical Director of the Emergency Department at White Plains Hospital, “Common injuries from fireworks include burns, as well as hand and eye injuries.”
  2. Alcohol - According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, July 4th is the deadliest day to be on the road (according to data from 2010- 2013) – and one of the factors is a higher percentage of drunk drivers on the road. If you’re going to drink, avoid getting behind the wheel. Even if you’re not driving, “Dehydration is common in hot weather when drinking alcohol,” says Dr. Torres. “Alcohol is a diuretic – try drinking water before having alcoholic beverages, as well as in between drinks and after drinking.”
  3. Food - Always follow recommended minimum safe cooking temperatures (160 degrees for ground meat, 165 degrees for poultry) when grilling, and make sure cold foods stay cool and hot foods stay hot. If you do find yourself with a case of suspected food poisoning, (i.e. nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea) and you are unable to drink anything to stay hydrated, you will probably have to be evaluated in the ER. Remember: those at age extremes are more susceptible to dehydration.
  4. Fire -  Be careful lighting those grills, and never grill indoors or in an enclosed area. Lighter fluid should be used sparingly, and never added to coals that are already ignited. Don’t leave grills unattended, and make sure children don’t touch a hot grill. If you find yourself with a burn, run it under cold water for 10-15 minutes. “You may need to be seen in the ER if you notice blistering or if it involves the hands or face,” says Dr. Torres.
  5. Water -  At a public pool or beach, always swim in areas with a lifeguard on duty. When swimming at a beach, keep an eye out for posted signs alerting swimmers to rip tides. If you find yourself caught in a rip tide, swim parallel to the shore until you’re out of the rip tide and can swim to shore safely. Swimming in a backyard pool? Make sure to keep an eye on children and have flotation devices available and a first-aid kit on hand. Though usually limited to bumps, bruises and scrapes, anything close to a near-drowning should be taken very seriously.
  6. Sun -  Everyone knows that sunscreen is crucial, but sunburns still happen. Most sunburn can be treated with home remedies such as aloe vera and over-the-counter pain relievers. Remember, these are true burns and are often times extensive. Stay hydrated, and any signs of infection should prompt a visit to a physician.

About White Plains Hospital
White Plains Hospital (WPH) is a 292-bed not-for-profit health care organization with the primary mission of providing exceptional acute and preventive medical care to all people who live in, work in or visit Westchester County and its surrounding areas. Centers of Excellence include the Dickstein Cancer CenterThe William & Sylvia Silberstein Neonatal & Maternity Center and The Ruth and Jerome A. Siegel Stroke Center. The Hospital’s Flanzer Emergency Department is the busiest in Westchester County, seeing over 55,000 visits a year. White Plains Hospital performs lifesaving emergency and elective angioplasty in its Joan and Alan Herfort, M.D. Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory. The Hospital is fully accredited by the Joint Commission and earned its recognition as a Top Performer for Key Quality Measures® in 2013. The Hospital is also an eleven-time winner of the Consumer Choice Award, an honor given to the nation’s top hospitals by the National Research Corporation, and received Magnet® designation in 2012 from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). In 2014 White Plains Hospital received the Outstanding Patient Experience Award from Healthgrades®, given to only 5% of hospitals nationwide. White Plains Hospital is a member of the Montefiore Health System. For additional information, visit