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Tips for a Safe Summer

Adventure safely this season with help from the Bonner General Health Emergency Department

By Kristin Carlson, Marketing Specialist, Bonner General Health


“In 2022, the leading cause of traumatic injuries to adults and children that came through our Emergency Department was from motorized vehicles, including cars, ATVs, UTVs and motorcycles,” reported Marian Martin, director of Emergency Services at Bonner General Health. “Injuries could have been significantly reduced with seatbelts and helmets.”

As you adventure around our beloved town this summer, consider this advice from BGH Emergency Department Team member Denis Simko, RN:

What are the most common injuries seen in the Emergency Department during the summer months? The most common injuries occur from ATVs, motorcycles and bikes.

What are the best ways to prevent these injuries? My best advice is to know your limits and skill levels. Wear a helmet and obey the rules of the road. Do not drink and drive.

What type of injury warrants a trip to the Emergency Department? Large lacerations, deformity of limbs, loss of consciousness, chest and abdominal injuries, and stroke or heart attack symptoms. Stroke symptoms include face drooping, slurred speech, arm weakness, sudden vision trouble, or sudden trouble understanding simple statements.

What can one expect when they arrive? You will be greeted by a friendly nurse who will assess the severity of the injury. Depending on the assessment, there may be a wait. Keep in mind that patients are not served based on the order of arrival. Patients are brought back in order of acuity, meaning the most life-threatening case will be seen first.

Additional Summer Safety Tips:

• The American Red Cross recommends the following safety measures around water: Never swim alone, utilize U.S. Coast Guard-approved life vests for young and inexperienced swimmers, always supervise children around water and limit distractions (yes, that means your phone).

• Protect your skin with sunscreen daily, often reapplying when outdoors. Protective clothing, hats and sunglasses will also help prevent sunburn.

• Take extra precautions when biking, walking, skating and scooting around town. Use sidewalks and crosswalks where available, plan and take the safest route, wait for pedestrian signals at traffic lights, and use hand signals and bike lights when necessary. Sandpoint is a pedestrian-friendly town. While driving, stay aware of those on wheels or on foot.

• You can do a few things to lessen the stress of a sudden need for medical attention. If visiting from out of town, identify where the closest Immediate Care Clinic and Emergency Department are located at the beginning of your stay. Also, understand your health insurance coverage or how to access it. Finally, know what level of care you need when you need it. If an injury is not life-threatening, an Immediate Care Clinic visit may be appropriate. Immediate Care Clinics can treat:

• Cuts, bruises and minor lacerations

• Earache, sore throat and fever

• Minor burns and skin infections

• Sprains, strains and simple fractures

• Upper respiratory infections, bronchitis and sinusitis

“We live in an area where we all like to enjoy fun and adventures, but please consider safety a top priority when visiting and playing in Bonner County,” Martin reiterates.

Simko advises “making smart decisions. Drink more water than alcohol. Consider taking a safety class, such as safe boating, first aid or CPR. Carry a small first aid kit on your adventures.”

For a complete list of services, visit

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