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Health Minute: Lightning safety precautions

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Atlanta, GA (CNN) - This week, four Canadian golfers were hit by lightning, near Toronto. One was seriously injured. During the last decade, lightning was responsible for an average of 33 fatalities every year in the United States, with an estimated 10 times as many injuries, many of them athletes. How can you protect yourself?  

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Lightning can strike at any time; especially during the warmer months, and that can be dangerous for anyone who might get caught outside. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says take precautions immediately.

-       The best defense is To be aware. Know the weather forecast, especially if you are planning an outdoor event.  If thunderstorms are predicted postpone the activity, or make sure you have a place to go inside, should a storm begin to develop.

-       Go indoors - if you're out, get in.  Look for an enclosed shelter, or a car with a hard-top.  And don't leave the windows down.

-       If you are out in the open and have no place to go to, crouch close to the ground in a ball like position and minimize your contact with the ground.  Do not lie down.  Lightning can cause electric currents in the ground that can be deadly more than 100 feet away.

-       Separate.  If you are in group, part ways, this will reduce the number of injuries should lightning strike the ground.

-       Keep away from open vehicles and shelters, like gazebos and baseball dugouts.  Also tall structures such as trees and metal poles can be lightning rods.  Be cautious of where you are standing. 

Precautions that will help make your summer a safer one. 

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