How to Avoid Common Spring Break Injuries
Spring break can be a great way to de-stress and have fun after a long winter of studying. Just make sure your fun doesn’t end with a preventable injury that sends you on an unplanned trip to the emergency room. By taking a few simple precautions, you can make the most of your time away, while protecting your own safety and the safety of others.
Preparing for a Safe and Enjoyable Trip
Before you leave, check to see if there are any vaccinations required for your destination. Also, look into any food, health, safety issues, or air or cruise ship travel dangers that could impact your plans. Last, stock up on any medications you may need while away. If you wear contacts, make sure you pack enough contact lens supplies for the duration of your trip, as well as a pair of glasses to serve as a backup, when needed.
The Impact of Alcohol on Spring Break Accidents
Many of spring break’s most preventable injuries involve alcohol. Binge drinking, in particular, has become a major factor in a variety of spring break accidents, including falls, burns, car crashes, and alcohol poisoning. Binge drinking is defined as a pattern of drinking that brings the blood’s alcohol concentration to 0.08 grams percent or higher. It can happen with as few as five drinks in two hours for men, and with only four drinks over a two-hour period for women.
Judgment and actions can become impaired after even lower alcohol consumption, also putting you at a greater risk of injury. To stay safe and avoid spring break accidents, replace alcohol with non-alcoholic alternatives. And if you do drink, don’t drive.
Protect Yourself from STDs
The only way to totally protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) while on spring break, or at any other time, is to refrain from sex altogether. If you do choose to have sex, the most effective way to reduce your risk of infection is by using latex condoms and only engaging in sex with an uninfected, monogamous partner.
Preventing Common Spring Break Injuries
After sitting in a classroom or in front of a computer for most of the year, it makes sense to enjoy a variety of activities during your spring break. Ideally, you should be spending at least 2-1/2 hours per week on physical activities that raise your heart and breathing rates, as well as strengthen your muscles. Take extra precautions, however, and avoid injuries on spring break when taking part in unfamiliar or high-risk activities.
Always apply sunscreen and use the recommended safety gear, such as seatbelts, kneepads, goggles, and wear life vests during water activities. Remove contact lenses before swimming or exposing your eyes to the water. Otherwise, you risk a blinding eye infection.
If you plan to spend spring break at the beach or near the water, make sure you know how to swim. Before boating, you should complete an education course, as well as a vessel safety-check program.
Protecting Yourself from Sports Injuries
For most spring breakers, the benefits of sports participation will far outweigh the risks, as long as appropriate precautions are taken. Be especially careful when participating in sports that involve high impact or overuse, as these types of activities are much more likely to result in injuries, such as bruising, sprains, strains, nosebleeds, lost teeth, joint dislocations, and stress fractures.
While the majority of sports injuries tend to be minor, it’s important to know when an injury is serious enough to require medical attention. If left untreated, some sports injuries can have severe, lifelong consequences.
Sprains, strains, and joint injuries: For immediate treatment of sprains, strains, and joint injuries, follow the RICE formula: Rest the area for 48 to 72 hours, apply Ice, Compress with an elastic bandage, and keep the area Elevated above heart level at all times.
Do not apply heat, massage the area, or drink alcohol, as these will increase bleeding and delay healing.
Nosebleeds: Stop the activity and sit with your head tilted forward. Next, pinch your nostrils together while breathing through your mouth. Continue this for at least 10 minutes. If your nose is still bleeding after 30 minutes, you need to seek medical help.
Lost teeth: It’s sometimes possible to save a lost tooth if you receive immediate dental care. Make sure you rinse the tooth in milk or water before visiting the dentist.
When to Seek Emergency Medical Help
The following spring break injuries require immediate medical attention. Call 911 for situations involving:
- A prolonged loss of consciousness
- Blunt force abdominal injuries
- Penetrating eye injuries
- Major head or face injuries
- Neck or spine injuries with loss of sensation or muscle weakness
Accessible Care for Spring Break Injuries
If you experience a non-life-threatening emergency or injury on spring break, an MD Now® Urgent Care provider can help. Our South Florida, physician-led medical centers are open from 8 AM to 8 PM daily to deliver fast and affordable injury diagnosis and treatment. Visit one of our state-of-the-art facilities located throughout Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties for a convenient alternative to the typical long wait at an emergency room.
Walk-ins are always welcome, and all major insurance plans are accepted. To save time, you can check in online at www.MDNow.com, or call 888-MDNow-911 before your arrival.