Summer Safety Tips
With one in five Americans developing skin cancer, childhood education about sun safety is a vital step toward reducing risk and improving public health. Overexposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays seriously threatens human health. Besides the immediate effect of sunburn, over time excess UV radiation can cause skin cancer, eye damage, immune system suppression, and premature aging. About 23 percent of lifetime sun exposure occurs before the age of 18. Learning about sun safety and dangers of sunbeds is the key to reducing the risk of future health problems.
- Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
- Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone. Even at a public pool or a lifeguarded beach, use the buddy system!
- Ensure that everyone in the family learns to swim well.
- Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
- Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
- Establish rules for your family and enforce them without fail. For example, set limits based on each person’s ability, do not let anyone play around drains and suction fittings, and do not allow swimmers to hyperventilate before swimming under water or have breath-holding contests.
- Even if you do not plan on swimming, be cautious around natural bodies of water including ocean shoreline, rivers and lakes. Cold temperatures, currents and underwater hazards can make a fall into these bodies of water dangerous.
- If you go boating, wear a life jacket! Most boating fatalities occur from drowning.
- Avoid alcohol use. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination; affects swimming and diving skills; and reduces the body’s ability to stay warm.
Surviving the Hot Weather – How to Protect Yourself From the Heat
· STAY COOL. Stay inside, in air-conditioning if you can, or in cool places such as basements. Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Take cool showers. Sleep without sheets. Draw the shades to keep out morning and afternoon sun.
· STAY HYDRATED. Drink more water than usual, especially if exercising or active outdoors. Be proactive, don’t wait until you are thirsty. Avoid alcohol and caffeine because they make you lose water.
· LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. Take it easy. Reduce exercise and limit it to the cooler parts of the day. If you feel sick, ask for help. Stop what you are doing if you feel faint or weak. Heat can worsen existing chronic health conditions.
· DON’T BE A STRANGER. Check on your loved ones and neighbors, especially if they are elderly or have chronic health conditions. Make sure they are drinking enough water and are staying cool. Remind them to take heat seriously!
· NEVER LEAVE CHILDREN, ADULTS WITH DISABILITIES, OR PETS IN A PARKED VEHICLE. Just don’t do it. The sun can turn a vehicle into an oven within minutes, even if it doesn’t feel hot outside.
Keep Food Safe When Grilling
· Wash hands with hot, soapy water before and after handling food.
· Keep food and drinks in separate coolers.
· Never leave perishable food out of the refrigerator for more than two hours. When the air temperature is above 90 °, do not leave food out for more than one hour.
· Use clean utensils and dishes to serve food. Each dish should have its own serving utensils to avoid cross-contamination.
· Preheat cooking grills for 20-30 minutes before using.
· Allow meat to completely thaw in a refrigerator before placing on a grill.
· Marinate meat in a tightly sealed plastic container or sealable plastic bag, and keep refrigerated until ready to use. Do not reuse marinade.
· Use a meat thermometer to ensure meats have reached a safe, internal temperature: hamburger-160°; chicken-165°; pork-150°; steak-145°; hot dogs-140°.
· Serve grilled foods on a clean dish, not a dish used for raw meat.
· Leftovers should be refrigerated or placed in a cooler within one hour after use.
· Older children should only be permitted to use sparklers under close adult supervision. Do not allow them to run or play with them.
· Be sure that others are out of the way when lighting fireworks.
· Only light fireworks outdoors, away from the house, dry leaves and other flammable materials.
· Never try to re-light sparklers.
· Always keep a bucket of water available in case of fire.
· Put used fireworks in a bucket of water and discard when cool.
About 50 percent of people injured by fireworks in the U.S. are children ages 14 years and younger. Firework injuries are most commonly associated with sparklers, firecrackers and rockets.
More than half of the injuries caused by fireworks involve burns, usually on the hands, fingers, eyes, head and face. Misused fireworks can also cause life threatening residential fires.