Celebrate Safely this Labor Day Weekend

August 29, 2014

A view of Chateau on the Lake

Labor Day Weekend is a time for boating, camping and shopping in the Ozarks. As the fun kicks off, Mercy Urgent Care – Branson will be on standby for any late-summer mishaps.

“We’re expecting fairly high volumes of patients this weekend,” said Becky Coleman, nurse practitioner. “It’s usually a mix of locals and travelers needing to be seen for knee scrapes, sprained ankles, and lacerations – things that don’t warrant a visit to the emergency room.”

Mercy Urgent Care – Branson will have extra staff on hand Monday, Sept. 1, for the holiday. Patients can walk in without an appointment and get medical attention at a lower cost with a shorter waiting time than an ER.

If your family is heading into the Ozarks outdoors to celebrate, here are some safety tips from Safe Kids Springfield and the National Safety Council.

  • Plan Ahead and Drive Carefully. Pick a destination well before you’re ready to head out, and do your homework on possible hazards like bluffs, strong currents or high-traffic regions. Try to avoid peak holiday travel times and check the Missouri Department of Transportation’s road map. It’s also important to understand your medical insurance before you leave home. Once you hit the road, make sure everyone is buckled up; seat belts saved more than 12,000 lives in 2012.
  • Pack the First Aid Kit. It’s important to have supplies such as bandages and creams for minor bumps and bruises. The Red Cross has a list of what should be in your kit, or you can buy prepackaged kits at any camping store. Don’t forget to include any regular medications. “We do see a lot of patients who’ve forgotten medications,” Coleman added. “We’ll work with pharmacies to get those replaced, but pharmacies in Branson close early on weekends and holidays, so be sure to see us early in the day.”
  • CPR and ICE. A CPR class will give you tremendous peace of mind. Hospitals, fire departments and recreation departments offer CPR training. As a backup, have an ICE (In Case of Emergency) contact created on your phone so medical personnel can quickly find your next of kin if you’ve had an accident and are unable to communicate.
  • Avoid Heatstroke. Make sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after outdoor activities. Bring everyone a water bottle and make sure they have it full and with them all the time. Remember to wear sunscreen and visors, in addition to loose fitting and lightweight clothing, and stay indoors during the hottest parts of the day. Also, be careful not to leave children behind in a hot vehicle; dial 911 if you see it happening to someone else’s child. One call could save a life.
  • Swim Safely. Be aware of uneven surfaces, river currents and changing weather. Also, never dive in water bodies because you never know how deep the water is or what might be hidden under the surface. Make sure kids swim only in areas designated for swimming; children under the age of 7 are required to wear lifejackets when they’re on a boat unless they’re in the cabin area of a house boat or cruiser.
  • Get a Safety Check. Boaters can get a free, yearly check-up by the U.S. Coast Guard. While on board, make sure there's a working carbon monoxide alarm to alert your family to any buildup of toxic fumes from the engine. If you’re driving, swing the vehicle by an auto body shop to make sure tires, wipers and other functions work properly. No matter when you’re traveling, make sure your child’s car seat is properly installed. Call the Taney County Health Department at (417) 334-4544 to schedule an appointment during normal business hours.

“We’ll be busy through early next week, because some people wait until after the holiday,” Coleman added, “but we’ll be here all weekend, striving to get patients in and out quickly so they can get back to celebrating.”

Mercy Urgent Care – Branson offers care for cuts, wounds, abscesses, sprains, strains, fractures, rashes, burns, insect bites, fever, ear pain, strep, cold and flu symptoms, urinary tract infections, and more. It is located at 1065 State Highway 248, and is open seven days a week (including Labor Day) from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Call (417) 337-5000 for more information.