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Billings healthcare worker urges injury prevention during Fourth of July

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Posted at 5:37 PM, Jul 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-02 19:43:49-04

Billings healthcare workers are seeing an influx in patients compared to last year as the Fourth of July nears.

Susan Ivankovich, physician’s assistant at SCL Health Walk-in Clinic, said Friday morning that patients come into clinic this time of year with three main injuries: burns, broken bones and heat exhaustion.

Due to the ban on fireworks in Billings, Ivankovich said providers are expecting fewer burn victims to come through the clinic, but people should still remain cautious.

“I really caution people to watch those toddlers and children with the sparklers. That's a frequent injury, and unfortunately those sparklers are often marketed towards the kids, but they can reach temperatures of 2,000 degrees,” said Ivankovich.

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Fourth of July injuries and prevention

She said that patients come in for other injuries, such as grill burns and campfire burns.

Since people are ready to get out and enjoy the outdoors this weekend, sport and recreation injuries are expected.

“People are out recreating. They're running on the Rims, or they're out in the boats and might injure themselves with the sprained knee. With wakeboarding, or surfing, they might injure themselves with a broken ankle, you see lots of things like that,” said Ivankovich.

Ivankovich said that patients with more serious trauma from car or ATV crashes typically go straight to the emergency room. She said she wants to remind community members to always wear a seatbelt and a helmet when necessary.

This year, due to the extreme heat seen across Montana, heat stroke and exhaustion are cause for concern. Ivankovich said people need to stay hydrated.

“Make sure if you're outside recreating, exercising or working out, make sure you're drinking at least eight ounces of water every 20 minutes. Our demands for our water consumption go way up in this weather,” said Ivankovich.

While Ivankovich and other healthcare workers are expecting fewer patients due to the firework ban, she said this could lead to people shooting them off further from town. This could result in worse injuries further from medical help.

According to St. Vincent Healthcare, its emergency room has seen 45 more trauma patients over last year at this time.