May 15, 2020
Each May, the Victoria Day long weekend typically marks the unofficial start of “trauma season” at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), and accounts for some of the busiest four months of the year. While the COVID-19 pandemic has changed many things, the holiday weekend is unfortunately, still anticipated to be the start of trauma season.
“COVID-19 has changed so many things about how people are approaching their daily lives at the moment, but we don’t believe that will necessarily delay or offset the start of the summer trauma season,” says Jennifer Britton, Injury Prevention Specialist at London Health Sciences Centre. “This pandemic has allowed a break in our bustling city streets, but as a result, we have seen a steep increase in street-racing and risky driving behaviours. We also expect that some people may not take the right precautions to prevent injuries as they look to spend more time outdoors, particularly if they are using this time to take-up a new activity.”
This holiday weekend, as summer unofficially kicks off, LHSC’s Injury Prevention team would like to remind everyone that the majority of injuries are preventable and a few safety tips can ensure that everyone keeps safe while enjoying activities outdoors:
Safe driving – Remain focused on the driving task. Do not allow yourself to become distracted while driving. When you are out on the road, please consider the other users, especially those who are more vulnerable (pedestrians, cyclists), always drive sober, and be sure to obey the speed limits.
Wheeled activities (bicycling, rollerblading, skateboarding) – Wear the gear - every time. Although it is the law in Ontario that children and adolescents, under the age of 18, must wear a bicycle helmet while riding a bicycle on roadways or sidewalks, we recommend all adults also wear a helmet to protect their brain. Wear it right - A helmet should fit two-fingers above the brow, the straps should be positioned in a “V’ formation around the ears and one finger should fit between the chin and the fastened strap.
Yard work – Never allow children or pets in the yard while you are using power tools. This includes a lawn mower (riding or push), weed whacker, edger, hedge clippers, chainsaw, or any dangerous cutting machine. While using a ladder, have a spotter and only have one person on the ladder at a time.
Water safety – Keep your family safe by supervising children in and around the water. Keep them within sight and arms’ reach. Make sure young children and novice swimmers wear personal flotation devices at all times. When boating season begins, alcohol should never be a part of it.
Last summer there were 291 severe trauma patients treated at LHSC and Children’s Hospital between the May and September long weekends.
“With the warmer weather approaching, people will understandably be eager to get outside and regain some normalcy to their daily lives,” says Britton. “Our Trauma Program is asking everyone to use good judgement and discretion when making decisions that have an element of risk involved.”
LHSC is prepared to safely care for you should you become injured, however the current pandemic visitor restrictions remain in effect at this time.
The Trauma Program wishes everyone a safe and enjoyable Victoria Day weekend.