2014 Fourth of July and Summer Safety Health Tips

CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–July 3, 2014.  As we head into the Fourth of July holiday weekend, Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck reminds us of the following health tips to help avoid injury and illness during the summer.

“We want everyone to stay safe while celebrating the holiday and throughout the summer. I encourage all Illinois residents to use and share these tips for a more enjoyable summer,” advised Dr. Hasbrouck.

WATER AND SWIMMING SAFETY – whether at the beach, on the lake or in a swimming pool, use safety precautions.

Supervise young children around water

Always use life jackets and secure personal flotation devices

Avoid alcohol while supervising children and before or during swimming, boating, or waterskiing

Shower before you enter a swimming pool and do not swim if you have diarrhea

Be aware of the local weather conditions and forecast, especially watch for thunderstorms with lightening

Know and obey the posted warnings about beach conditions

Pay attention to lifeguards and posted instructions

Prevent access to water when pool is not in use

SUN AND HEAT – protect yourself against sunburn and heat illness.

Never leave anyone, including pets, alone in a closed, parked vehicle

Apply sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher 30 minutes before going outside

Increase your intake of fluids – drink more liquid than your thirst indicates; avoid alcohol and caffeine

Wear lightweight, light-colored, loosing-fitting clothing

Be aware of heat exhaustion symptoms: heavy sweating, weakness, dizziness, nausea, clammy skin, pale or flushed complexion, and fast and shallow breathing

If present, be sure to move the person to a cooler place; remove or loosen tight clothing; apply cool, wet cloths; and give cool water to slowly drink

Be aware of heat stroke symptoms – hot, dry skin, hallucinations, chills, throbbing headache, high body temperature, confusion/dizziness and slurred speech

If present, be sure to call 911; quickly cool the person in a cool bath or wrap wet sheets around them; if the victim refuses water, is vomiting or shows a decreased level of consciousness, do not give anything to eat or drink

FOOD SAFETY – for cookouts and picnics, temperature is key to avoiding foodborne illness.

Wash hands and keep surfaces clean

Make sure all meat and poultry are properly cooked

Use a clean plate and utensils when taking food off the grill

Keep hot food hot and cold food cold

Refrigerate leftovers within two hours, and if you have doubts, throw it out

Know the symptoms of most types of food poisoning, which include severe cramps, fever, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and bloody diarrhea. Symptoms can begin from 30 minutes to three or more days after eating contaminated food. If symptoms are severe or last longer than two days, contact a doctor or health care provider.

TICKS AND MOSQUITOES – camping, hiking or in your own backyard, guard against insect illnesses. Mosquitoes can transmit West Nile virus and ticks can transmit Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis and other serious infections.

  • WEAR INSECT REPELLENT. Apply insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535, according to label instructions.

Avoid being outside during prime mosquito-biting hours, dusk to dawn

Avoid tick-infested areas, such as the woods and high grasses

Remove ticks attached to the body using a pair of tweezers and call your health care provider if you develop a rash, fever or body aches during the 1 to 3 weeks following a bite

Check with a veterinarian about preventing tickborne diseases in pets as they can carry ticks into the home

For more information about summer safety, check out our “Summer? No Sweat. A Summer Survival Guide”.

Source: idph.state.il.us