Newswise — Every year, 28 million Americans go to hospitals with injuries. 214,000 will die. Injuries and violence cost the U.S.A. $671 billion per year.

May is Trauma Awareness Month. Jay Doucet, MD, a board-certified surgeon who serves as the chief of the Division of Trauma, Surgical Critical Care, Burns, and Acute Care Surgery and as medical director of both the Surgical Intensive Care Unit and Emergency Preparedness and Response at UC San Diego Health, is now available to discuss the practical steps the general public should always take in order to avoid death, injury and loss from traumatic injury.

“Although the UC San Diego Trauma and Burn nurses and surgeons love doing our work, we would much rather prefer that you did not have to meet us after being hurt!” he says. “Prevention is the best way to avoid trauma and burn injuries.”

Doucet lists three key steps everyone can take to avoid traumatic injury:

  1. Be a safe driver and passenger: Never drink and operate anything with wheels. Ditch the phone, and always wear a safety belt. “You are only given one brain — we have no replacements available,” Doucet says. “Take good care of it.”
  2. Be a safe pedestrian: “Be visible,” Doucet says. “Stay in well-lit areas and wear bright or reflective clothing. And remember the dangers of drinking while walking, too. “More than half of severe pedestrian trauma involves alcohol consumption,” he says. “In 35 percent of cases, it involved a pedestrian who was drinking.”
  3. Be safe at home: Make sure you have smoke detectors with carbon monoxide feature and they are less than 10 years old. Test by pressing the button monthly. Lock up all firearms and make sure children cannot reach them.

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