Easy tips you need when planning for an emergency

Safety preparedness doesn’t stop in September


Even though National Preparedness Month is coming to an end today, there are easy preparedness steps you can take ALL year to keep your family safe.

Despite the best planning, accidents, injuries, and medical emergencies are unavoidable. Fortunately, thousands of emergency physicians are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, to take care of you and your family when you need it most.

However, there are some common sense preparedness tools you can use to lower your risk of injury. By planning ahead, you can be prepared, and keep you and your family safe when the unexpected occurs. Continue reading

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day this Saturday, September 26


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 71,000 children under the age of 18 visit emergency departments in this country every year because of accidental ingestion of medications. They also estimate 44 people die every day in the U.S. due to abuse of prescription medications.

As an emergency physician, I have seen my share of these tragedies.  From a child suffering seizures from a parent’s smoking cessation aid, to the tragic death of a young adult from prescription pain medication abuse, these cases devastate families.

According to federal data from 2010, the nation’s emergency departments see approximately 1.3 million patients annually for pharmaceutical misuse and abuse.  Many of these visits could be prevented.

Often, simple precautions can keep children and others safe from accidental or unintentional overdose. One of the simplest ways to prevent medication misuse is by removing the threat from your home.

Saturday, September 26, 2015 is the Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.  Many local businesses and law-enforcement agencies will be collecting medications for appropriate disposal. Continue reading

Michigan & deadly summer weather – it happened once, it can happen again

On anniversary of Flint tornado, key tips from a U-M emergency doctor to staying safe in tornado, flood & heat wave season

Tornado for blog.fw

This image taken by the federal weather agency NOAA shows the devastation left by one of the nation’s deadliest tornadoes ever. Source: NOAA

Deadly tornadoes in Oklahoma. Dangerous flooding in Texas. Could Michigan be next for the freakish weather patterns of 2015?

After all, severe weather can happen here too. In fact, today is the anniversary of the 1953 tornado that struck Beecher, a small town just north of Flint, and killed 116 people and destroyed nearly 350 houses. Even 62 years later, it remains one of the nation’s most deadly twisters.

So today’s a great day to take stock of what every Michigan family can do to be ready in case a major weather event strikes the Mitten State. With a few simple actions, you can keep yourself and your loved ones and pets safe and healthy during a tornado, flood, or more routine summer thunderstorms.

We turned to a U-M doctor who thinks about emergency planning a lot – because he treats a lot of people who didn’t plan or think ahead and paid the price with an injury or illness. He’s Brad Uren, M.D., a U-M emergency physician and past president of the Michigan College of Emergency Physicians.

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Lighting fireworks for the 4th? Pick a ‘designated lighter’ & keep an eye on the kids

U-M burn prevention expert offers tips & urges early intervention for kids who play with fire

When it comes to fireworks, Karla Klas has seen it all. A young teen whose eye ruptured when a firework went off in his face. A kindergartner seriously burned by a sparkler that ignited his clothes. A middle-aged man who suffered horrifying facial injuries, when he lit fireworks after drinking more than a dozen beers.

Fireworks injuries - courtesy Consumer Product Safety Commission

Fireworks injuries – courtesy Consumer Product Safety Commission

So, as Fourth of July week rolls around, she and her colleagues are bracing for a new crop of fireworks-related injuries to roll in to the U-M Emergency Department and Trauma Burn Center. They care for the most seriously burned and injured patients in the state.

The number of patients injured by fireworks started to climb two years ago, when Michigan legalized the sale of more powerful fireworks in the state. More than 210 registered sellers of fireworks now offer everything from bottle rockets to aerial shells.

Nationally, fireworks hurt more than 7,400 people in the weeks leading up to and immediately after July Fourth. That’s 65 percent of all people hurt by fireworks all year.

“We’re really sending mixed messages to people, who think that because fireworks are legal, they’re safe,” says Klas, who runs the center’s prevention programs and serves as the national prevention committee chair for the American Burn Association. “Plus, local ordinances about when and where you can set them off are all over the map.”

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Insect repellants and kids: Is DEET safe?

Insect repellants and kidsSummer means sun, backyard barbecues and lots of outside time.  And all of those things generally also come along with a generous dose of bugs.  Unfortunately for us in Michigan, it’s shaping up to be a buggy summer – especially when it comes to ticks.

The best way to avoid the not-so-fun bugs of summer is to wear long sleeves and long pants, and to avoid dusk, which is often the buggiest time of day.

Bugs tend to like perfumes.  Your 8 month old is probably not wearing perfume, of course, but it is worth thinking about the scent of shampoos and lotions you use on your children, as well.

Even if you avoid dusk and wear long sleeves, there are certainly times when you can’t avoid bugs. That’s when many of us reach for bug repellants.  Continue reading

Tick Season

What parents should know about ticks and children

mott blog - ticks and kidsThe number of ticks in the Great Lakes region has been on the rise for the past few years, but many experts are reporting that this year is going to be even worse than the last.

Ticks can carry and transmit diseases such as Lyme disease. It’s important to be on alert whenever you, your children and even your pets spend time outside — especially in or near wooded areas.

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