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Health - Public Health News

Posted on: July 1, 2022

Hot Safety Tips for a Cool 4th of July Weekend

As we celebrate Independence Day with friends and family, here are a few safety tips for your outdoor barbecue or fireworks experience:

Food-Borne Illnesses 

If you are on grill duty, make sure you are storing and cooking your food properly and washing your hands thoroughly to prevent foodborne illnesses. Foodborne illnesses are caused by bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli and most often spread by unwashed hands or uncooked or under-cooked meats. Symptoms from foodborne illness can be as mild as a stomach ache or serious enough to require hospitalization. 

 Thankfully, foodborne illnesses are highly preventable. Here is how:

  • Wash your hands before and after cooking or eating. Soap and water are preferred for handwashing, but hand sanitizers or disposable hand wipes may be used if no water is available.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables before eating. Wash fruits and vegetables with running water before cooking and serving, since bacteria can be transferred by handling or cutting. 
  • Keep prepared foods like pasta or potato salads cold in a cooler until they are ready to be served.
  • Cook meats to a safe internal temperature. Thaw frozen meat in the refrigerator, or seal it in packages and thaw in cold water. Never place food on any dish that previously held raw meat or eggs. 
  • Store food safely. Make sure food stays at a safe temperature right up until the moment it is eaten. Keep cold food cold and hot food hot. Store leftovers in a container with lots of ice. 
  • Find more information on our website at: https://bit.ly/3nuxXde 

 Fireworks 

Check the rules where you live before setting off your own fireworks. Every city, county, or town has their own rules and regulations for using fireworks. Make sure you only buy fireworks that are legal in the area you intend to use them.

  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents do not realize that young children can suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees - hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Light fireworks one at a time, then back away quickly to a safe distance. 
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully. After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Do not mix alcohol and fireworks - this greatly increases the likelihood of injury. 

Hundreds of people end up in the emergency room after improperly handling fireworks. Using fireworks safely demands preparation, responsibility and attention. If you follow these safety guidelines, you will enjoy a safe and exciting Fourth of July that you will remember for years to come.

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