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Keep Spring Break Safe

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The nation's emergency physicians urge teens and young adults to stay safe and practice good judgment while having fun in the sun.

WASHINGTON, DC, March 7, 2012 -- As high school and college students from around the country get ready for spring break, the nation's emergency physicians urge everyone to have fun -- but most importantly -- stay safe with family and friends.


"Of course, if there's a medical emergency, a person should go to the nearest ER so we can treat them," said Dr. David Seaberg, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians.  "But so many of the illnesses and injuries we see each year during spring break can easily be prevented with a little knowledge, preparation and common sense."

Emergency physicians treat many serious injuries during spring break vacations.  A lot of those are a direct result of bad personal choices. 

The American College of Emergency Physicians has a list of do's and don'ts that every person should prepare before heading out on break.

  • Do- Wear sunscreen, at least SPF 15 or higher. Apply it generously throughout the day.
  • Do- Wear a hat outdoors and a good pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes.
  • Do- Wear a life vest when boating.
  • Do- Swim with a buddy and try to stay close with people you trust at all times.
  • Do- Drink plenty of water, especially when in the sun or if you are sweating heavily.
  • Do- Know your surroundings, who you can call for emergencies, and where exactly local emergency departments are located.
  • Do- Get enough sleep. Don't overdo the activities. Sleep deprivation equals bad decision making.
  • Do- Protect yourself against sexually transmitted diseases such as herpes or HIV, as well as unintended pregnancies. The best advice is abstinence. But if you do have sex, use a condom.
  • Do- Use your own judgment. If you're with a group involved in questionable activities resist the urge to join in.
  • Do- Take any medications and proof of insurance along with you.
  • Do- Get proper training from experts before taking part in athletic or skilled activities like surfing, water-skiing, and scuba diving.
  • Do- Carry a cell phone with you at all times in case of emergencies.
  • Do- Trust your instincts. You know what's right, you know what's wrong.
  • Don't- Consume illegal drugs.
  • Don't- Drink alcohol if you plan to drive, boat, or swim.
  • Don't- Drink alcohol if you're underage.
  • Don't- Binge drink. Alcohol poisoning will almost certainly land you in the emergency department, or even worse.
  • Don't- Assume everything is okay if you feel like you're getting ill. If you feel ill, it's your body's way of saying, slow down. Listen to it.
  • Don't- Go to an isolated place with a stranger or someone you do not fully trust.
  • Don't- Just think about the impulse, think about the consequences.

"Spring break is a time to celebrate after the hard work you've done in the year," said Dr. Seaberg.  "We want you to remember the fun memories from your vacation, not ones where you found yourself being treated in an emergency department because of something you could have prevented."

For more information on spring break safety, please visit www.EmergencyCareForYou.org.

ACEP is the national medical specialty society representing emergency medicine. ACEP is committed to advancing emergency care through continuing education, research and public education. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, ACEP has 53 chapters representing each state, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. A Government Services Chapter represents emergency physicians employed by military branches and other government agencies. 

SOURCE American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP)

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