It’s that time of year again where we all scream “red, white and blue”. People are firing up the grill, going to the beach, and spending time with friends and family watching fireworks. As some families are enjoying the holiday outdoor festivities others may be taking a trip to the emergency room. Staying safe around the holidays can be tough as some can become injured by firework accidents, suffer from prolonged heat exposure, food-borne illnesses and even dehydration. When we head into this extended celebration let’s remember these 4 important health and safety tips for this Fourth of July.
1.Fourth of July Injuries Happen
Fireworks can be dangerous and can cause serious injury to any body part. According to The Consumer Product Safety Commission (link opens in a new tab) more than 44% of injuries were burns. Specifically the hands, eyes and face were the most common injury from a firework mishap. On average, 280 people go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries during the holiday.
Some tips to help reduce firework related injuries can include:
- Having a bucket of water or hose ready for a fire or firework mishap
- Having adult supervision if a child is around
- Never allowing young children to play with fireworks
- Never pointing or throwing fireworks at another person
- Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have NOT ignited fully
2.Fourth of July Heat related Illnesses
Drinking and tracking the amount of water you intake can definitely reduce your chances of developing heat exhaustion and heat stroke (link opens in a new tab) . Eight 8 ounce glasses of water is normally enough each day, but because of the warmer weather, our need for water can also increase in order to replace what we lose daily through urination, sweating, and even exhaling.
Pack extra water before you leave the house. Know that this can help prevent a situation where you feel overheated or thirsty in the upcoming July heat wave.
If you’re not drinking enough water and feel any symptoms for heat exhaustion and or heat stroke seek medical attention immediately. Stop strenuous activity and seek a cooler shelter if you can.
3.Sunscreen Protection on 4th of July
Prolonged exposure to UV rays can have a negative effect on your eyes and skin. If you wear a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 or more you can help reduce sun damage to the skin and even skin cancer.
The CDC studies recommends (link opens in a new tab) that you reapply every 2 hours. Even if you’re swimming and or toweling off the sunscreen washes off so you need to reapply as needed. If your skin is super sensitive to the sun bring an umbrella for shade. You can also wear sunglasses and hats to reduce the UV rays from hitting your eyes.
It is important to remember that UV rays are at its strongest from late morning to mid-afternoon. So plan your trips and activities accordingly to avoid prolonged sun exposure
4.Fourth of July Gastroenteritis It’s a thing!
If you’re planning a cookout or going to one it is crucial to watch what you eat. Warm temperatures can cause rapid bacteria growth on foods left out in the sun. If you plan to cook make sure that hot foods are kept hot at around 140 degrees or more. If you’re serving cold foods, pack a cooler and keep these foods below 40 degrees. Anything in between is considered the danger zone for bacteria growth. You don’t want to eat foods that are exposed to temperatures like that or left out for more than 2 hours. Food borne illnesses like gastroenteritis can be a result of uncooked meat or foods that got a little too much sun.
If you can:
- Use thermometers when cooking all foods
- Make sure to wash hands when serving or handling food
- Refrigerate and freeze food promptly
AFC Urgent Care West Hartford is Here For You
The Fourth of July is supposed to be fun and relaxing, but know that we are here for you just in case. Come on in to AFC Urgent Care West Hartford at 1030 Boulevard, West Hartford, where one of our providers is always available and is equipped to care for firework related injuries, heat related illnesses, and food-borne illnesses. We are open 7 days a week, 8am-8pm Monday-Friday and from 8am-5pm on the weekends. You can save time by checking in online and we accept most insurances!
Have a happy and SAFE Fourth of July !