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Atrium Health Navicent Physicians Offer Safety Tips for Celebrating New Year’s Holidays

When making plans to ring in the new year, Atrium Health Navicent physicians urge the community to stay safe behind the wheel. When people are impaired by alcohol, they may have poor judgment, impaired visual functions, declines in coordination and reduced reaction time. Even when people don't appear drunk, small amounts of alcohol may impair driving skills, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The National Safety Council reports that the three-hour period with the highest percentage of driver fatalities with bloodalcohol contents of 0.08 percent or higher is midnight to 3 a.m. — prime time for driving home from New Year’s Eve festivities.

“New Year’s Eve is a great time to celebrate and have fun. However, when spending time with family and friends, be sure to keep safety in mind. If your celebration includes alcohol, either have a designated driver or stay at home. And if you are drinking alcohol, don’t light fireworks. This could result in emergency room visits, and that’s not how anyone wants to ring in the new year,” said Dr. John Wood, medical director for the Emergency Center at Atrium Health Navicent The Medical Center.

If your New Year’s celebrations involve fireworks, it’s important to take precautions to ensure those celebrations remain safe.

In 2022, fireworks were involved in an estimated 10,200 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments, and resulted in 11 deaths, according to a report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Adults ages 25 to 44 were the most likely to be treated in emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries. Fireworks — including sparklers and flares — can cause serious burns as well as blast injuries that can permanently impair vision and hearing. The most common injuries in 2022 included burns to the hands and fingers (29 percent); burns to the head, face and ears (19 percent); burns to the legs (19 percent); and eye injuries (16 percent).

Emergency and trauma physicians at Atrium Health Navicent The Medical Center, a nationally verified Level I Trauma Center, encourage celebrants to protect themselves and their children from fireworks injuries by following these tips:

• Handle and use fireworks in strict accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and all warning labels.

• Light fireworks on smooth, flat surfaces and aim them away from buildings, dry leaves, flammable materials and spectators.

• Do not try to relight fireworks that malfunction. Soak them in water and then throw them away.

• Do not modify fireworks or use homemade fireworks.

• Light fireworks one at a time, then quickly move back.

• Do not shoot fireworks from metal or glass containers.

• Keep a phone and a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher handy.

• Familiarize yourself with first aid for burns.

• Adults should actively supervise all children when they are near fireworks.

• Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees — hot enough to melt some metals.

• After fireworks complete their burning, to prevent a trash fire, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding the device.

Physicians also urge revelers to avoid firing guns in celebration of the holiday. Bullets returning to the ground due to celebratory gunfire can cause serious injury or even death for bystanders in the area.

If an accident or injury occurs, seek appropriate medical treatment. For emergency situations, call 911 or seek care at the nearest emergency room. Atrium Health Navicent offers emergency care at the following locations:

• Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children's Hospital (888 Pine St., Macon)

• Atrium Health Navicent The Medical Center (770 Pine St., Macon)

• Atrium Health Navicent Peach (1960 Hwy 247 Connector, Byron)

• Atrium Health Navicent Baldwin (821 North Cobb St., Milledgeville)

• Putnam General Hospital, Atrium Health Navicent Partner (101 Greensboro Road, Eatonton)

For non-life-threatening injuries, visit your nearest urgent care provider. Atrium Health Navicent provides urgent care at three Macon-Bibb County locations:

• Atrium Health Navicent Urgent Care North (3400 Riverside Drive, Macon)

• Atrium Health Navicent Urgent Care East (1339 Gray Highway, Macon)

• Atrium Health Navicent Urgent Care Northwest (5925 Zebulon Road, Macon)

About Atrium Health Navicent

Atrium Health Navicent is the leading provider of health care in central and south Georgia and is committed to its mission of elevating health and wellbeing through compassionate care. Atrium Health Navicent is part of Advocate Health, which is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is the third-largest nonprofit health system in the United States, created from the combination of Atrium Health and Advocate Aurora Health. Atrium Health Navicent provides high-quality, personalized care in 53 specialties at more than 50 facilities throughout the region. As part of the largest, integrated, nonprofit health system in the Southeast, it is also able to tap into some of the nation’s leading medical experts and specialists with Atrium Health, allowing it to provide the best care close to home – including advanced innovations in virtual medicine and care. Throughout its 125-year history in the community, Atrium Health Navicent has remained dedicated to enhancing health and wellness for individuals throughout the region through nationally recognized quality care, community health initiatives and collaborative partnerships. It is also one of the leading teaching hospitals in the region, helping to ensure viability for rural health care for the next generation. For more information, please visit www.NavicentHealth.org.

About Advocate Health

Advocate Health is the third-largest nonprofit integrated health system in the United States – created from the combination of Advocate Aurora Health and Atrium Health. Providing care under the names Advocate Health Care in Illinois, Atrium Health in the Carolinas, Georgia and Alabama, and Aurora Health Care in Wisconsin, Advocate Health is a national leader in clinical innovation, health outcomes, consumer experience and value-based care, with Wake Forest University School of Medicine serving as the academic core of the enterprise. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Advocate Health serves nearly 6 million patients and is engaged in hundreds of clinical trials and research studies. It is nationally recognized for its expertise in cardiology, neurosciences, oncology, pediatrics and rehabilitation, as well as organ transplants, burn treatments and specialized musculoskeletal programs. Advocate Health employs nearly 155,000 team members across 68 hospitals and over 1,000 care locations and offers one of the nation’s largest graduate medical education programs with over 2,000 residents and fellows across more than 200 programs. Committed to equitable care for all, Advocate Health provides nearly $6 billion in annual community benefits.