Ending the Millennium Safely
Loyola University Burn and Shock Trauma Institute,
Injury Prevention Program
The holiday season is in full swing. This year is a big year
for parties. The end of the millennium is here! More people than
ever plan to celebrate this "big event". Hotels and
restaurants have been booked for months in anticipation to this
year's record attendance of partygoers. Don't let the end of the
millennium be the end of you!
December is also Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month (3D
Month). Communities across the country will be working hard to
reduce crashes, injury and death that too often result from
impaired driving. 3D Month coalition and it's government partner,
the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),
conducts national events such as: "Lights on for Life Day and
Holiday Life Savers Weekend.
This month Break Point will focus on how to end the 20th
Break Point is produced by Loyola University, Burn and Shock
Trauma Institute Injury Prevention Program. Please call us at
(708) 327-2455 or email to: Kathy
O'Day with any comments or questions.
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Making Every Step a Safe One
Too often when partygoers get intoxicated they think they are
doing the right thing by walking home. Everyone knows you
shouldn't drive drunk but many people are unaware of the fact
that walking impaired has the same deadly consequences as
According to NHTSA, 34% of all pedestrians 16 years and over
killed in traffic crashes in 1998 were intoxicated. The numbers
increase to 48% for those between 35 and 44. Research has shown
that impaired pedestrians have very high blood alcohol
concentrations (BAC) that indicate binge drinking and/or severe
Here is some lifesaving information to make every step a safe
one: If you are a pedestrian-
- Remember that alcohol affects your balance, impairs your
judgment and reduces your alertness and coordination. It can
also affect your vision.
- Limit how much alcohol you consume, especially if you plan
to walk. Do not fool yourself about your ability to walk in
- Be more visible to traffic by carrying a flashlight or
wearing retro-reflective clothing at night. During the day,
wear bright colored clothing.
- If you know someone who has been drinking and is planning
to walk, offer to call him or her a cab or escort him or
her, even if it is only for a short distance.
- Even if sober, walk defensively, be vigilant. Be aware of
drivers that may be under the influence and a threat to
pedestrians. If you are a motorist:
- When you drive, particularly at night, watch for sudden
unexpected movements by pedestrians. Scan the road widely
and often, and prepare for the unexpected. Slow down!
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Planning a Holiday Party? Start Smart!
Planning a party this holiday season takes a lot of
thought, organization and effort. You owe it to yourself and
guests to plan the activities responsibly.
NHTSA estimates that alcohol is involved in 39 percent of
all fatal crashes. That equates to about one alcohol-related
fatality every 33 minutes. 1.5 million drivers were arrested
in 1997 (most current data available) for driving under the
influence of alcohol or narcotics.
When planning your holiday events in which alcohol will be
served, you should take some basic steps to ensure the safety
of your guests. These steps will remind your friends and
guests that you care about them and their safety:
- Promote the fact that you are hosting a
"responsible" party. Suggest to your guests as
they arrive that at least one person in the group remains
sober and serves as the "designated driver".
- Inform your guests that you have non-alcoholic beverages
available as an alternative to alcohol.
- Limit the access to alcohol. Don't be "heavy
handed" when mixing drinks. It is responsible to
water down drinks. Monitor the number of refills your
guests have had.
- Close the bar at least one hour before the party ends.
- Serve food and lots of it. High-protein foods slow the
body's absorption of alcohol. Avoid salty foods that
encourage people to drink more.
- Focus on fun. Have games, music, entertainment or other
activities to shift the party's emphasis from drinking to
- Know the signs of impairment can include lack of
coordination, unusual behavior, and slurred or incoherent
speech. Even those without outward signs can be impaired.
- Be prepared. Keep the phone numbers of cab companies
handy. Know the "safe ride" programs in your
area. Be prepared for overnight guests.
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The Designated Driver's Special
This holiday season will bring more people together than
ever before. More people plan to attend parties this season
than they did in the past. This is an exciting time but we
need to remember that drunk driving takes lives!
A good idea when planning a party is to prepare a variety
of non-alcoholic beverages. Be sure to provide an assortment
of non-alcoholic beer, champagne, and equally attractive
mixed drinks (or "mocktails") as alternative to alcohol.
Try a few of the "mocktail" recipes listed
below for your holiday function and enable guests to party
responsibly and safely.
- Red Delicious Punch- Pour 2 bottles of non-alcoholic
sparkling cider into a punch bowl. Mix in 1 quart of
cranberry juice. Float a frozen ice ring and garnish
with sprigs of mint.
- Fuzzy Navel -3/4 oz. Non-alcoholic peach schnapps and
- Margarita-1 ½ oz. Sour mix, ½ oz. Rose's limejuice,
and ½ oz. Orange juice.
- Pina Colada-1oz. Pineapple juice, 1oz. Cream of
coconut, 1tsp. Orange juice, 1 tbsp. Cream, and 3-4
pineapple chunks, then blend.
- New Year's Eve Kiss- Pour 2oz. Passion fruit juice in
a champagne flute. Fill with club soda.
- Faux Kir-Fill a large wine glass halfway with chilled
white grape juice. Stir in 1tbsp. Grenadine syrup. Fill
with cold raspberry ginger ale.
- Dress up coffee with whipped cream, cinnamon or
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It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas
It wouldn't seem like Christmas if there weren't
Christmas trees and houses adorned with colorful lights.
The decorations help brighten the holiday season when used
properly. Safety should be a primary concern when
decorating your house. Here are some useful tips to help
keep fire safe this Christmas:
Christmas tree safety-
- Consider an artificial tree. They are safer than
- When purchasing a live tree tap the tree on the
ground if the needles fall off the tree is not fresh.
Pull on the branches. You should not be able to pull
needles off the tree.
- Cut 1 inch off the trunk to help the tree absorb
water. Check the water level daily. Never let the tree
- Keep the tree away from any heat source such as
fireplaces or heat registers. The tree should be at
least three feet away.
- Never use candles even on artificial trees.
- Use cool-burning lights such as miniature lights.
The larger lights become hot and pose a fire hazard.
- If your tree should become dry during the holiday
season, do not turn on the lights. It is wiser to take
the tree down.
- Dispose of the tree properly. Never burn the tree in
a fireplace. Electrical safety-
- Read all instructions on light strands before
- Use only UL-approved lights and place no more than 3
strands of lights together.
- Do not use frayed electrical cords. Replace any
burned out bulbs prior to decorating. Unplug the
strand of lights before changing any bulbs once the
strand is up.
- Use only outdoor lights outside your home. The light
strands are labeled for indoor or outdoor use.
- Do not run extension cords under rugs or furniture.
This poses a fire hazard.
- Keep electrical wires out of the reach of children.
Place the wires to the center of the tree. Fasten
outdoor lights securely to the house, trees or posts
with plastic fasteners. Do not use metal staples.
- Unplug light strings and decorations before you go
to bed or leave your home.
- Make sure your smoke detector and carbon monoxide
detectors are in working order.
Safe gift ideas-
- Smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors.
- A quality fire extinguisher
- Flashlight and batteries or light sticks.
- A second floor escape ladder.
- Emergency kit which contains- water, first aid kit,
flashlight, extra batteries, a battery operated radio.
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Loyola University Injury Prevention Program Supports
"Lights on For Life Day"
On November 2, 1999, Governor George Ryan declared
the month of December as Drunk and Drugged Driving
Prevention Month in Illinois. The proclamation was made
to increase awareness of this national problem.
Loyola University Injury Prevention Program supports
Governor Ryan's proclamation by hosting a "Fatal
Vision" Checkpoint to increase drunken driving
awareness at the Stritch School of Medicine and at the
The "Fatal Vision" Checkpoint will take
place at the Stritch School of Medicine Cafeteria and at
the North Entrance of the Medical Center. This event
will take place on December 17, 1999 from 11:00 Am until
1:00 Pm. Participants will wear specially designed
goggles to simulate .08 BAC and .10 BAC levels. Illinois
State Troopers will be on hand to conduct a field
sobriety test to show the participants how they are
impaired. The Injury Prevention Program personnel will
be available to provide information and answer
This event will coincide with "Lights on For
Life Day", December 17, 1999. Motorists around the
country are asked to drive with their headlights on
during the day to show support for anti-drunk driving
efforts and remember those killed by impaired drivers.
For more information about the "Fatal
Vision" Checkpoint or any other injury prevention
topics, contact the Injury Prevention office at (708)
327-2454 or browse our website.
All are encouraged to attend and make the pledge to
keep sober and remember "You Drink and Drive. You
Loose" Let's mark the end of the millennium Safe
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Coming Next Month in Injury Prevention
The information on the Loyola University Health System
(LUHS) Web site is for educational purposes only. It is presented in summary form in order to impart general information relating to certain diseases, ailments, physical conditions and their treatments. The information provided through the LUHS Web site should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease, nor is it a substitute for professional care. Should you have any health-care related questions or suspect you have a health problem, you should consult your health care provider.
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