July is one of the hottest months of the year when many of us are outside, home from school and out of work early. As everyone is getting ready for their annual celebrations and traditions, it is important to get ready this summer 2019 with these 4 top Fourth of July health and safety tips. 

     1.Protect Against the UV Rays 

We love the sun,  the beach and being outside. Although there are some health benefits to sunlight exposure ( like Vitamin D) it is important to protect your eyes and skin from prolonged exposure. Here are some tips to consider if you’re going to the beach this holiday:

  1. Wear a thick layer of broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 25 or higher. The CDC studies suggest (link opens in a new tab) applying sunscreen 15 minutes before going outside and to reapply at least every 2 hours after swimming, sweating, or toweling off. 
  2. Put on sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays to protect your eyes from cataracts and other potential eye problems
  3. Use an umbrella at the beach and wear hats to shelter from the sun. UV rays are at their strongest from late morning through mid-afternoon. 

It is also important to know that sunburn and skin damage can also occur on cloudy or overcast days, so wear your sunscreen, wear proper clothing and seek shade if you plan to be outdoors for an extended period of time. Babies especially, are susceptible to UV rays.

     2.Drink Plenty of Water This Fourth of July

Not drinking enough water is a major risk for dehydration. In warm or hot heather there is an increased risk for heat exhaustion and heat stroke (link opens in a new tab) If you’re going outside for an event or doing a physical activity outdoors remember to drink a sufficient amount of water before, during and after. 

We often hear that eight 8 ounce glasses of water is 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.

So remember to pack some extra water for your trips outdoors and track how much water you drink just to get a feel for the amount needed.

     3.Watch What You Eat At Your 4th of July Cookout

Having barbecues may sound filling, but it can easily send you to the doctor for food-borne illnesses. During warmer temperatures, bacteria growth can contaminate foods if they are left out in the sun. Hot foods that are served below 140 degrees and cold foods that are served above 40 degrees poses a risk for bacterial growth. 

A good way to serve and eat foods this summer is to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. The FDA suggests (link opens in a new tab) that when grilling or attending outdoor events with food to:

  1. Use a food thermometer to ensure that food is at the right temperature
  2. Wash your hands if you’re serving or getting food.
  3. Refrigerate and freeze food promptly. Pack a cooler for cold foods and never leave food out for more than one hour.
  4. Cook food thoroughly to kill any harmful bacteria that may be present

     4.Fourth of July Firework Injuries

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commision fireworks-related injuries (link opens in a new tab) in the month around the July 4th holiday have sent an average of 280 people to the emergency room. Body parts that are more likely to be injured are the eyes, face, and hands. You can help prevent these firework related injuries by:

  1. Never allowing young children to play with or ignite fireworks
  2. Avoid purchasing fireworks packaged in brown paper as this is a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and could pose a threat to consumers
  3. Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not fully ignited 
  4. Keep water or a hose handy incase of a fire or other mishap
  5. Never point or throw fireworks at other people

Your Danbury AFC Urgent Care Services 

Please be safe this upcoming holiday season. Set the rules, protect your children and use common sense when around fireworks, the sun, and eating heat exposed meats. 

If you or someone is injured by fireworks, come to any one of our 3 urgent care centers where our staff is equipped to care for injuries from fireworks, foodborne illnesses, heat stroke and exhaustion and more. AFC Urgent Care Danbury’s locations are open 7 days a week, 8am-8pm Monday-Friday and 8am-5pm on the weekends. We are located at 2 Main Street at the corner of South and Main, 100 Mill Plain Road in Danbury and at 76C Newtown Road in Danbury, CT. You can save time by checking in online and we accept most insurances