Sharon Ufberg, DC discusses ways patients and practitioners can prepare for the summer by providing information and awareness about important prevention and public health issues.

by Sharon Ufberg, DC

As summer approaches, the daily lives of my patients shift focus and I find myself spending lots of time discussing “better choices” for them as individuals and for their families within a framework of prevention and safety. As a practitioner, so much of the connectedness we feel comes from the dialogue with our patients in any given session. As this season unfolds, I am experiencing a dynamic between patient and practitioner that is all about the decisions for children and families preparing for summer. It actually feels good to remember and activate that part of my commitment to an integrative practice that includes being a resource for information and heightening awareness of important prevention and public health issues. So here are some of the biggies:

1. Swimming and Water Safety
Teach the kids to swim! Statistics from Center of Disease Control in 2005 reported that fatal drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years of age. The statistics around disabilities in children that occur from non-fatal drowning incidents are also staggering.

The CDC’s website is also a great resource for the prevention of injuries at home and at play. Many of these accidents can be prevented. We can all assist in keeping people safe and work towards the prevention of many of the leading causes of injuries, including drowning, falls, fires, and poisoning. These common home and recreation-related injuries affect people of all ages and account for about a third of all injury-related emergency department visits.

2. Teen Driving
Make sure teens and their parents are involved in an ongoing conversation about driving safety. About 5,000-6,000 teenagers die unnecessary deaths per year from driving accidents. Car crashes caused by teen drivers are the #1 killer of teens in America today. Allstate has great driving awareness and prevention programs online that teens and parents can easily access. Here are two that are particularly helpful:

1. Teen Safe Driving Facts – Allstate Insurance
Parents can learn safe driving tips to share with their teenagers.
2. The Facts About Teen Driving 

3. Sun Protection
After swimming and driving lessons, sun protection seems like a simple task to accomplish but the latest news out is telling us that our most common name-brand sunscreen products may not be adequately protecting us from damaging rays and may contain chemicals we do not want to shmear on our children or ourselves. Check out the Environmental Working Groups website 
to find the best products available such as natural insect repellents and a wide variety of sunscreen products and more.

Although most of these ideas seem to be obvious issues that all your patients should already know about, my experience is that people need to be reminded to be vigilant. We never have enough time to share our knowledge about all of the important details about prevention. Whatever we can share is a real gift to our patients. If we inspire one patient to make a change – then it’s worth it.

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