Trauma preventable with safety measures

Trauma preventable with safety measures

Warmer temperatures and summer-like weather always bring a high degree of trauma.
According to Jack Baltz, a nurse practitioner at Martin Specialty Clinic, a year goes into two seasons – as far as health, of course.
The winter time is the flu season. It’s the season when most people stay inside and get colds and flu from inactivity. The summer season, however, is the trauma season. It’s the season when people are out and about and the occurrence of accidents reaches a peak.
“The difference in the seasons is based on  medical problems and problems of trauma,” Baltz explained. “The medical problem is if something goes wrong on the inside, it manifests itself on the outside of the body. This includes a blood clot causing a person to have chest pain and sweating and you can see that on the outside. The trauma problem is just the opposite – a force outside, such as a softball or a car wreck, is applied to the body and it manifests on the inside.”
In summer, when people are vacationing and being more active outdoors, naturally more trauma occurs.
According to Baltz, the most common incident of trauma is a fall whether it be falling off a ladder or tripping over something on the ground.
This leads to orthopedic injuries and skin lacerations from everything from knives to fishhooks.
But, within the realm of trauma, there are incidences of major and minor trauma.
“The body is divided into systems. When we have one isolated system involved in the injury, such as breaking an arm in a skateboarding accident, that’s minor. A motor-vehicle crash involving multiple systems – broken bones, head injuries, a lacerated spleen – that’s major trauma,” Baltz said.
“The bottom line is prevention,” he stressed. “Use safety equipment and wear a seatbelt in the car. If you can protect your head, the body will heal much better and more easily. If you don’t protect your head, it’s much more difficult for the body to recover.”
In a car crash, Baltz explained there are three impacts that occur.
When a person is going 70 miles per hour down the road, he or she doesn’t think about self. It’s easy to believe the car is going 70 miles per hour, but not the person.
When the vehicle hits another vehicle, that’s the first impact and the car comes to a stop, but the person does not.
Based on built-up kinetic energy in the car, the person is going 300 miles per hour. That’s the second impact – the person’s body hitting objects inside the car.
The third and most serious impact is the impact of internal organs moving forward at 300 miles per hour, tearing loose and jolting against the body frame.
This is when the brain shifts forward, the heart hit against the chest cavity and bruises and the spleen and liver tear away from the aorta.
“The purpose of a seatbelt is to lessen the impacts,” Baltz said. “The shoulder strap protects the head. If you tuck the strap behind your head, you’ll put yourself at great risk for head injuries.”  

wcp 5/19/11

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