Beware of Summer Lightning
< Jul. 13, 2011 > -- Summer is the time to enjoy the great outdoors - but keep an eye on the sky. Lightning in summer thunderstorms can be deadly.
"Lightning is one of the most dangerous and frequently encountered weather hazards," says Sandra M. Schneider, M.D., president of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).
Thunderstorms - and the lightning that accompanies them - are common in summer months, as higher air temperatures make the atmosphere more unstable. About 80 people in the U.S. are killed by lightning each year, and 300 more are injured. Those that survive a lightning strike may end up with permanent injuries such as eye or ear damage, headaches, or memory problems.
"Use common sense," Dr. Schneider says. "If you plan to be outdoors, check the local weather forecast. Generally, if you can hear thunder, you are at risk, even if you don't see lightning. … Seek shelter when those storms roll through."
How to stay safe
ACEP offers these tips to help avoid getting struck by lightning:
If you are with someone who is struck by lightning, call 911 and begin CPR immediately if the person doesn't have a pulse. Give 100 chest compressions a minute for an adult, and 30 compressions alternating with two breaths per minute for a child.
For more information on health and wellness, please visit health information modules on this website.
Camping with Safety in Mind
It's summertime, when many families head for the hills, fields, and forests. Planning ahead and being safety-conscious while in the wild can keep everyone safe and secure. Here are suggestions from the American Red Cross:
Always talk with your health care provider to find out more information.
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