Fourth of July fireworks.
July 2, 2015 | by The Polyclinic

The Fourth of July holiday brings celebrations of all kinds along with tasty treats, hot weather, and lots of outdoor activities. However you plan to enjoy the holiday, keep these tips in mind to maximize fun and safety.

Wear a Lifejacket

Spending time on the water is one of the most enjoyable pastimes in our state this time of year. Remember to wear a life jacket when you’re in, on, or around bodies of water like lakes, rivers and the ocean. According to the American Boating Association, 80 percent of people who die in boating accidents are not wearing life jackets.

Wear Sunscreen

Wearing sunscreen is one of the best ways to prevent serious skin damage and skin cancer when outside. Water-proof, SPF 30 (or higher) sunscreen is a good option for the summer when you may sweat and be in and out of the water. Remember to reapply sunscreen every two hours. Be especially mindful to wear and reapply sunscreen when you’re in the water because water reflects up to 100 percent of UV radiation.

Stay Hydrated

Because soft drinks, alcohol, and the sun are very dehydrating, consider drinking more water than usual this Fourth of July (For men, more than 13 cups of fluid and women, more than 9 cups).

If you’re consuming alcoholic beverages try to follow the one-to-one rule: drink at least one glass of water in between alcoholic beverages. This rule will help moderate alcohol consumption, and help keep you hydrated to prevent heatstroke.

Keep a Close Eye on Fireworks and Campfires

Take advantage of all the spectacular public fireworks displays in the region. Simply sit back and enjoy the show—and avoid any possible fireworks injuries. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 8 people died and 11,400 people were hurt handling fireworks last year. Never allow young children to light fireworks--even sparklers--and supervise older children who do.

If you’re planning a campfire, be mindful of the flames and don’t stand too close. Keep children and flammable items a safe distance from the fire. Also be careful in wind as sparks could fly onto clothing or skin.

For both fireworks and campfires, always keep a bucket of water handy in case anything catches fire.

Prevent Food Poisoning

If you’re grilling or hosting a picnic, follow these steps to avoid food poisoning:

  • Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Generally, hot food that falls below 140 degrees is safe for about two hours. Cold food that rises above 40 degrees is safe for approximately the same amount of time.
  • Keep raw and cooked meats on separate plates. Also don’t reuse plates as the bacteria can still linger no matter how clean it may look.
  • Just as you do when cooking inside your house – be sure to wash your hands thoroughly to avoid contamination.

Have a happy, healthy holiday!