Summer precautions: Fireworks, food, swimming, heat & COVID-19
Arkansas Department of Health issues guidelines for summer safety
Office of Health Communications LITTLE ROCK — The Fourth of July is this weekend, and it is important to remember safety precautions for fireworks, food, swimming, and heat along with precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) encourages Arkansans of all approved ages to get the COVID-19 vaccine and available boosters. Getting vaccinated is still the best way to protect yourself and reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. These vaccines are safe and effective. Per Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) guidelines, those who are fully vaccinated can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except in limited circumstances. For those who are not fully vaccinated, wearing a mask and physically distancing is recommended. To find a vaccine clinic near you, call 1-800-985-6030 or visit the ADH website.
Fireworks-related injuries are common on the Fourth of July. Improper use of fireworks can lead to death and injury, including burns, cuts, and foreign objects in the eye. To prevent injury, keep these safety tips in mind:
• Read all labels and instructions before igniting.
• A responsible adult should supervise all firework activities.
• Use fireworks outdoors in a clear area, away from buildings and vehicles.
• Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and placing them in a metal trash can away from any building or flammable materials.
• Never give fireworks to children.
• Never shoot fireworks of any kind near pets.
• Obey all local laws regarding use of fireworks.
The chances of a foodborne illness increase in summer due to various factors, including warmer temperatures. When handling food during the holiday, stay healthy and safe by using these tips:
• Use an insulated cooler filled with ice or frozen gel packs when bringing food to a picnic or cookout.
• Instead of using one cooler for all events, use a smaller or larger one based on the items it will hold. A full cooler will maintain its cold temperature longer than a partially filled one.
• Avoid opening a cooler repeatedly so that your food stays colder longer.
• In hot weather (above 90 °F), food should never sit out for more than one hour.
• Serve cold food in small
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portions and keep the rest in the cooler.
• After cooking meat and poultry on the grill, keep it hot until served – at 140°F or warmer.
• Keep hot food hot by setting it to the side of the grill rack, not directly over the coals where they could overcook.
• Use different utensils for handling raw meat than you use for cooked or ready-to-eat foods.
About 10 people die from unintentional drowning every day in the United States. One of every five deaths are children aged 14 or younger. Keep these tips in mind, so you and your loved ones can swim safely: • Enroll children in formal swimming lessons to reduce the risk of drowning among children aged 1 to 4 years old.
• Designate a responsible adult to watch young children while swimming or playing in or around the water.
• Because drowning occurs quickly and quietly, adults should not be involved in any other distracting activity (such as reading, playing cards, or talking on the phone) while supervising children, even if lifeguards are present.
• Do not replace life jackets with air-filled or foam toys, such as 'water wings,' 'noodles,' or inner tubes.
These toys are not life jackets and are not designed to keep swimmers safe.
• Avoid drinking alcohol before or during swimming, boating, or water skiing.
• Always swim with a buddy. Use swimming sites that have lifeguards when possible.
Heat-related Illness Prevention
Heat-related illness is caused by your body’s inability to cool down properly. The body normally cools itself by sweating.
However, under certain conditions sweating is not enough. People who have higher risks for heat-related illness or death include children under the age of four, seniors age 65 or older, anyone overweight, and those who are ill or on certain medications. Heatrelated illnesses are preventable. Simple tips to prevent them are:
• Stay in an air-conditioned area during the hottest hours of the day. If your home does not have air conditioning, consider public places like a library, senior center, or mall.
• Wear light, loose-fitted clothing.
• Drink water often. Don’t wait until you are thirsty.
• Avoid unnecessary hard work or activities if you are outside or without air conditioning.
• Avoid unnecessary sun exposure. Wear a hat when you are in the sun.
• Use sunscreen as directed and reapply regularly, especially when swimming.
For more information regarding injury prevention, visit healthy.arkansas.gov.