A family celebrating with sparklers.
July 1, 2019 | by The Polyclinic

The Fourth of July holiday weekend is a great chance to relax in the sun with family and friends. Follow these tips to stay safe while you’re enjoying the holiday.

Polyclinic Fourth of July Hours

Polyclinic Now, urgent care at Northgate Plaza, will be open on the 4th of July from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Clinics will operate on regular business hours July 3 and July 5.

Protect Your Skin

Wearing sunscreen is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself from harmful skin cancers this summer. When spending long days in the sun Dermatologists recommend using a SPF 30. If you are particularly sensitive to the sun or have had a history of skin related cancers use an SPF 50.

Reminder: Sunscreen wears off, be sure to re-apply about every two hours.

Stay Hydrated

Dehydration and heat exposure can lead to many problems that are easily preventable. Remember to drink lots of water to avoid dehydration. Soft drinks, juices, alcohol, and the sun are very dehydrating. Although the water content in drinks will help with hydration, the sugar content in these drinks reverses the effects. The rule of thumb for keeping your body hydrated is eight cups a day. During high activity days drink more than normal (13 cups a day for men and nine cups for women).

Fun Fact: Sparkling water is just as hydrating as still water! Watch for added sugar and sodium in flavored sparkling water which can make it less hydrating.

Handle Food Safely

  • Don’t keep picnic food out all day. Never leave food outside for over an hour on a 90 degrees Fahrenheit day and two hours on any other day.
  • Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Foods that are meant to be cold should only reach a maximum temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and hot food should not fall below 140 degrees Fahrenheit. After food surpasses these temperatures it is only good for about two hours (see above).
  • Separate your raw and cooked meats. Cross contamination can lead to food poising.
  • Don’t use chilling ice for drinking ice. Ice that is used to keep food and drinks cold hold bacteria that can be harmful if consumed. It is best to put drinking ice in a separate bucket.
  • Watch for flare ups when grilling meat. Meat exposed to direct flame causes quick charring on the outside before the internal temperature is safe for consumption. Try setting up a two zone grill where one side is direct flame for searing and the other for indirect heat to ensure safe cooking temperatures.
  • Be prepared. Use baking soda instead of water to put out a grease fire.

Protect Your Pets

For the most part, animals are afraid of fireworks. If spooked by fireworks, pets may react by running away from home, hiding, or with heightened anxiety. Remember that while fireworks are being lit, it’s important to keep your pet in a safe place. Refrain from leaving your pets in cars, unattended outside, and near firework displays.

Play Smart with Fireworks

Fireworks are a fun and exciting part of the Fourth of July holiday, but remember – they are explosives and need to be handled with extreme caution.

  • Sparklers. Watch children when handling sparklers and other small fireworks, make sure they are never pointed at themselves or other people.
  • Laws. Obey all local and national laws about where to purchase and use fireworks. In King County, fireworks are only allowed from 9 am to midnight on July 4.
  • Alcohol. Don’t drink alcohol while lighting fireworks.
  • Public firework displays. Consider viewing a public firework display instead of lighting them yourself.
  • Be smart. If you set off your own fireworks, make sure they’re lit in an open area away from buildings, trees, and people. Keep water or a fire extinguisher nearby in case of an accident. Never relight a dud.

Summer in Seattle is an amazing time of the year. Keep the memories happy with a safe holiday weekend.