Think safety as warmer weather nears – QNS.com

Think safety as warmer weather nears

We are getting closer to enjoying great days outside. With the temperature rising, we soon will see the beginning of little league season, more outdoor exploring by boy and girl scouts, and tweens and teens spending a lot of time hanging on street corners or running across streets to retrieve errant balls.

What should adults do? Here’s our checklist:
Drive slowly. Children play in the street, or bolt from between parked cars. If you see one child or several children, reduce your speed as you pass and scan to make sure you see every one of them.
Take a first aid class. This is for parents, coaches and the organizers of little league programs and other sports and recreation activities for children throughout Queens. Children will be injured by thrown baseballs, tossed bats and sliding. Know what to do when an injury occurs and how to comfort a child. At our office in Briarwood (138-02 Queens Boulevard), we regularly teach standard first aid classes. Periodically, we also teach a specific class about sports injury prevention and first aid. This class, developed jointly with the United States Olympic Committee, provides coaches, officials, athletes and parents with the knowledge and skills necessary to increase the safety of youth athletes.
Learn more about safety. Visit our web site (www.nyredcross.org) for Red Cross safety guidelines about bike riding, swimming and the many other outdoor activities that will take place from now until cold weather reappears later this year.
Even if you just like walking in the country or the parks and wooded areas in Queens, you need to be careful. Keep your eyes open for freeloaders - the ticks that hitchhike on you when you brush against tall grasses and low bushes and shrubs.
Here are some anti-tick tactics:

  • Wear light-colored clothing. This allows you to see a tick more easily.
  • Wear a hat and long-sleeved shirt.
  • Tuck in your clothes - shirts into pants and pants into socks. Use a rubber band or tape the area where the socks and pants meet to prevent ticks from getting under clothing.
  • Use an insect repellant with DEET on exposed skin and clothes. Read the label’s instructions and cautions about use on young children.
  • Stay in the middle of trails when hiking. Also, avoid underbrush, fallen tress and tall grass.
  • Perform a tick check after being outdoors and shower immediately after coming indoors.
  • If you do find a tick on your body, remove it by doing the following: Use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Pull slowly, steadily and firmly. Avoid crushing the tick’s body. Clean the area with antiseptic, such as alcohol, after the tick has been removed. Save the tick in a jar of alcohol or tape it to a piece of cardboard so it can be identified by your local health department.
  • Watch for the following early signals of Lyme disease: fever and chills, muscle and joint aches, weakness or fatigue, headache, swollen lymph nodes, skin rash (which may have a bull’s-eye appearance).
  • Be alert for signals that may appear weeks, months or even years after a tick bite: arthritis, numbness, paralysis of the facial muscles (usually on one side), memory loss, problems with hearing or vision, severe headache, high fever, stiff neck, irregular or rapid heart beat.
  • Consult a medical professional if any of these signals appear or you have bitten by a tick.

    Joan Foley is director of the American Red Cross in Greater New York - Queens.

    In Queens, the American Red Cross in Greater New York responds to emergencies such as fires, floods and power outages. It also helps residents prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies by offering first aid, CPR, aquatics and other classes along with free emergency preparedness training programs and resources. The Red Cross is located at 138-02 Queens Boulevard in Briarwood. More information can be obtained by calling 718-558-0053, or visiting www.nyredcross.org.

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