This time of year brings BBQs, pools, beaches, parties, and sun and fun! It also can bring some very dangerous situations and health hazards that we all need to try to avoid.
- Wear sunscreen! Be sure your children, even infants, have on sunscreen. If you are going to be out in the sun or on the beach all day, or even if you will just be outside for a brief period, put on sunscreen. Remember sun damage can occur even when its overcast and not bright and sunny. Wear sunglasses! Be sure your children wear sunglasses! Eye protection from the sun is key! Wear hats. Stay in the shade when possible and avoid direct sun from 12 noon to 3 pm if you can!
- Swim safely! Swim where there are lifeguards. Follow all swim safety instructions posted where you are swimming. Be SURE you, and your children KNOW how to swim before entering any pool, lake or ocean. Always be sure someone is WATCHING your children while in the water, other than the lifeguards. It is your own job to be sure your child is safe and following the rules. Lifeguards are not babysitters.
Do not swim in unmarked and unsupervised areas. Be aware of undertows and dangerous swim times and avoid them.
- Don't drink and drive! Have a designated driver after attending those parties and BBQs where you will be drinking. Call a taxi to drive you home or to a hotel nearby, but DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE! Remember, sitting in the heat and drinking can have a much greater effect on your body than when you drink indoors. You dehydrate quicker. Be sure to also drink plenty of water. Be sure to also eat enough food in addition to any alcohol you intake.
- Keep food safe! Beside the concern of heat and oudoor air spoiling food quicker, keep in mind that bacteria thrives in warmer weather. Take every precaution when preparing food for any get together. Be sure to properly clean every prep surface before and after preparing any food, as well as all utensils. Do not mix raw meats, fish or poultry on any surface, in any cooler, or on any cooking surface with any other food such as vegetables or potatoes etc. The harmful bacteria that can be on raw items can be spread to other things before it is cooked properly.
Be sure that perishable foods are out of the sun, in ice filled coolers and kept outside only for short periods of time.
Always make sure that meats, fish and poultry are cooked THOROUGHLY to avoid food poisoning.
Use grills or any cooking devices with EXTREME caution! Remember you can get burned, others can get burned or things can be put on fire or explode due to flames, lighter fluid and propane gas. KNOW what you are doing and cook safely and responsibly.
ICE can carry harmful bacteria. BE CAREFUL WHERE YOU PURCHASE YOUR BAGGED ICE. A recent study showed that several types of bacteria were found in bagged ice from convenience stores and gas stations. This happened from its delivery on trucks and partial melting and refreezing, to numerous hands that handled it as well. When using this ice in coolers, keep in mind that any bacteria on the bags AS WELL AS ON THE ICE ITSELF can be passed onto your FOOD and ONTO YOUR HANDS and into your mouths! Numerous cases of bacteria poisoning have been traced back to bagged ice from parties or BBQs. So.....proceed with caution!
- Dress in lighter layers and lighter colors if warm outside. Be sure to drink plenty of water through out the day.
- Beware of bugs. Use bug repellant when warranted. Try not to wear excessive perfume or scented lotions when going outside to attract the insects. Check yourself and your children for tics after being in ANY grassy area or tree lined area for any period of time. This summer will be particularly bad for mosquitoes and tics due to the warm winter we had. Even playing out front in your yard for a few minutes can expose anyone to a tic or mosquito. Be sure to address any insect bite or sting as necessary and seek medical attention right away if you must.
- When driving a boat, riding in one, or on a jet ski or other water device, be safe and smart! Follow all state rules and be sure to wear a life jacket. Only go out during light hours, do not go out if drinking and be prepared with lessons and training and safety provisions before venturing out and inviting any one else to come with you.
- When excessive heat arrives, be sure to check on all infants, elderly, pets and sick people to be sure they are kept cool, hydrated and safe. Never LEAVE any person or pet in a car in the summer for any period of time, windows up or down! Its is NOT SAFE!
We all want to have fun! However, being responsible and staying safe is what KEEPS it fun and allows you to be around and healthy to do it again and again, all summer long!