Tips for a Healthy Memorial Day Weekend

Friends cheering at fourth of July celebration

For many, Memorial Day weekend marks the “unofficial” start to summer. It’s a time to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and also a time to gather with family and friends. Firing up the grill, camping, spending time in the pool are just a few of the activities that go hand-in-hand with Memorial Day weekend. Whatever your plans may be, Memorial Hermann wants to help you stay safe and healthy while you’re having fun.

Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital is home to one of the busiest emergency departments in the Houston metro area. During the Memorial Day holiday weekend, the emergency department will likely become even busier. Dr. Trish Stephens, medical director of the emergency department at Memorial Hermann Southwest, says many of the injuries they’ll treat during the holiday weekend can be avoided.

“One of the biggest problems we see is people simply don’t seek medical attention when they need it during the holiday weekend,” says Dr. Stephens. “People are having fun enjoying family and friends and they don’t want to miss out, so they’ll often put off seeing a doctor until after the weekend and their condition just gets worse.”

Healthy Travel

According to AAA, more than 38 million Americans will travel this holiday weekend. Be sure to drive safely, no texting while driving and plan to take a few breaks along the way. “It’s easy to get dehydrated when you are traveling so don’t forget to drink plenty of water — especially if you have an elderly traveler with you. Make sure everyone in the car gets plenty of fluids,” says Dr. Stephens. “Make a point to stop every four hours and take a few minutes to walk around and stretch.”

An important note from the Emergency Medicine doctor who has seen just about everything: Always travel with a first aid kit. “Your child can get what you think is a minor cut but you wait to treat it and the next think you know, the cut is infected and you have a much bigger problem on your hands,” says Dr. Stephens.

Chopped watermelon on blue plate

Healthy Eating

For many, the holiday weekend doesn’t always involve travel. It’s all about staying close to home and getting together with family and friends. “Watch your children closely around the grill,” says Dr. Stephens. “This time of year we see a lot of parties, a lot of cookouts and unfortunately a lot of burns.” Minor burns can be treated by running cool water over the burn. Apply an anti-bacterial ointment and then be sure to cover the burn with a bandage. If a burn gets increasingly red, swollen and painful and if it begins to drain, seek immediate medical attention.

If you’re planning a picnic, be sure to prepare and transport your food properly. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, cold food should be stored at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below to prevent bacteria from growing. Whether the food you are serving is hot or cold, once it is served do not allow food to sit out for more than two hours. Food should sit out no longer than one hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Healthy Swimming

Keep a close eye on children when they’re in and around swimming pools. Dr. Stephens recommends a floatation device for any swimmer under the age of 6. “Even if you think they can swim, a toddler should always wear a floatation device,” says Dr. Stephens. “Parents need to pay close attention to their children around swimming pools because it only takes a second for a little one to get into trouble.”

Be sure to share these tips with your family and friends.

All of us at Memorial Hermann wish you and yours a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day holiday weekend.

To locate the nearest Memorial Hermann Emergency Center or Memorial Hermann Urgent care, visit http://www.memorialhermann.org/emergency/

Feeling sick?  Call the free 24/7 Nurse Health Line. 

Registered nurses use their training and expertise to conduct assessments by phone and help you decide when and where to go for medical care.

In Houston:  (713) 338-7979         Toll-free:  (855) 577-7979

For life threatening emergencies, please call 9-1-1.  The Nurse Health Line is not designed to assist with life-threatening conditions or emergencies.

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Tashika Varma