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Fourth of July Safety Tips from GoHealth Urgent Care

The Fourth of July is an opportunity to celebrate American’s independence while spending time with family and friends. To make the most of the holiday this year, here are tips to follow to keep everyone as healthy and safe as possible.

1. Grill safely.

Since many Fourth of July celebrations include cookouts and barbecues, it’s important to follow grill safety tips to keep yourself and everyone around you safe.

Always grill outdoors, never inside tents or campers. Make sure young children and pets are kept at a safe distance from the grill. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby. Place the grill away from anything that could catch on fire, like overhead branches or wooden furniture. And use long-handled grilling tools to avoid burn injuries.

2. Follow heat advisory recommendations.

Since July is the hottest month for most of the U.S., pay attention to weather forecasts and heat advisories as you’re making your Fourth of July plans.

Keep in mind that elderly people, young children and people with underlying health conditions are especially vulnerable to heat-related illnesses and injuries.

Designate a cool indoor space or a well-shaded outdoor space where people can take a break from the sun if they need to. Bring plenty of water to make sure everyone stays hydrated. Apply sunscreen of at least SPF 15 every 2 hours while outdoors, or after swimming, showering or sweating. And try to do any strenuous outdoor activities during the cooler parts of the day.

3. Follow food safety guidelines.

Whether your holiday plans include a picnic, a potluck or a cookout, be mindful of food safety guidelines to make sure no one contracts a food borne illness.

If you’re cooking meat, use a meat thermometer to ensure the meat is cooked to its recommended temperature. Don’t leave perishable food out for more than two hours (or for more than one hour if the temperature is over 90 degrees). And make sure everyone washes their hands well before preparing or eating food.

4. Practice firework safety.

More than 9,000 people in the U.S. end up in the Emergency Room every year due to fireworks-related injuries. Two-thirds of these injuries occur around the Fourth of July. So, if your Independence Day celebration includes fireworks, take extra care to keep yourself and everyone around you safe.

First, make sure it’s legal to set off fireworks in your area. In some states this year, fireworks are not allowed due to wildfire concerns. Be sure to check with the local policies so you don’t wind up with a hefty fine – or worse, a fire!
If it is legal, take the following safety steps:

  • Read and follow the instructions that come with the fireworks.
  • Keep fireworks and fire starters out of the reach of young children and pets.
  • Never throw a firework toward a person, vehicle, home, animal or anything flammable.
  • Do not try to re-light a “dud” (a firework that didn’t go off the first time.)
  • Keep water nearby.
  • Always wear eye protection when lighting fireworks.

5. Protect against insect and tick bites.

If you plan to spend time outdoors on the Fourth of July, take precautions to prevent insect and tick bites. These bites can cause viral, bacterial and parasitic infections, including West Nile virus, Zika virus, Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

Apply insect repellent when you’re heading outdoors. If you’re in an insect- or tick-endemic area, keep as much skin covered as possible. Avoid standing water, since this is a common breeding ground for mosquitoes and other insects. Wear light-colored clothing so you can see ticks more easily. And check yourself and your pets for ticks after you’ve spent time outdoors.

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