Ochsner – BR Offers Tips for a Safe Carnival Season

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By Ochsner – Baton Rouge
    All over south Louisiana, communities are celebrating Mardi Gras.  There are plenty of options close to home or if you want to pack up and travel a little further. 
    It can be a wonderful experience for families no matter if you are going all out for the larger parades or taking it easy at one of the smaller ones. Either way, it’s really about common sense and keeping alert so everyone has a good time.
    Keith Holmes, MD, Primary Care, Ochsner Health Center – Central, offers the following tips for a safe Carnival season.
    Wash Hands:  We are in the mist of cold and flu season, so be sure to wash everyone’s hands when you get home to prevent the spread of common illnesses. It also a great to have antiseptic wipes handy while you’re out on the parade routes for quick clean ups. This also helps prevent lead exposure from dirt and soil around the city when kids pick up throws from the ground.
    Protect Yourself from the Sun:  Though we all hope for sunny weather when we are out on the parade route, it is important that we take the proper precaution to protect ourselves from the sun’s potentially harmful rays. Bring plenty of sunscreen if you will be exposed to sunlight for a prolonged period of time, and make sure to reapply frequently. Also, consider congregating under a tent or umbrella periodically to shield yourself from the sun.
    Bring a First Aid Kit:  Scrapes and cuts happen, especially when little ones are running around and beads are flying in from all directions. Be sure to have bandages and disinfectant available to cover up any cuts and avoid infection.
    Stay Hydrated:  While we know that many people enjoy their adult beverages while they are out at the parades, it is important to remember to stay hydrated.  Make sure to drink plenty of water between alcoholic beverages if you choose to imbibe to maintain a proper level of hydration.
    Designate a Driver:  Don’t ruin the fun by making a bad decision. Make sure you designate a driver at the beginning of the day so that everyone gets home safely. By assigning a designated driver before the parades, you eliminate the possibility of an impaired driver getting behind the wheel, which allows you to focus your energy and excitement on the Carnival celebration.
    Avoid Concussions:  A common injury during this time of year is a concussion as a result of a trip and fall, often while walking on uneven ground or scrambling for Mardi Gras beads. Stay aware of your surroundings and make sure you know where the neutral ground or sidewalk ends to avoid falls.  
    Take a Photo:  Be sure to take a picture of your children before heading out in case someone gets lost. We suggest establishing ground rules about staying close and setting a meeting place before you head out to the route. Just as you need a designated driver, you also need a designated adult who is going to be responsible for kids at all times.
    Ladder Safety:  Last, but certainly not least, you want to be careful with those ladders. Be sure to check your ladder for any repairs it might need before you head out to the parade route. Make sure it’s level and stable when you set it up, and not tangled with someone else’s. Children in the ladder should be well-secured with a sturdy bar across the front. And, use common sense about the size of kids you allow into your ladder – a child who’s really too big can cause a ladder to tip over.
    For patient appointments at Ochsner Health Center – Central or at any of our Ochsner – Baton Rouge region locations, call 225-761-5200 or visit Online appointments can be made through the MyOchsner patient portal or by clicking Online Appointments.