Beliefnet
A Prescription for Healthy Living

Fourth of July is an exciting summer holiday filled with food, family and fun. Unfortunately, it is also a holiday that finds many people in emergency rooms due to the misuse of fireworks, overindulgence in alcohol, swimming and/or boating accidents, and food-borne illnesses. Fourth of July is right around the corner; therefore, it is wise to consider the following tips designed to keep you safe so you can enjoy the holiday, and make it back to the office the next day!

Tip Number 1: Leave the Fireworks to the Professionals

Fireworks are the number one reason people wind up in the emergency room on the Fourth of July. While it is obviously safer to attend a fireworks display that is facilitated by, let’s say, Macy’s, that does not necessarily keep fireworks from falling into the wrong hands. If you plan to make fireworks a part of your Fourth of July celebration, be sure to keep them out of the hands of children and shoot them at a safe distance away from your party attendees (they’ll thank you for your consideration).

Tip Number 2: Remember the Buddy System

Most people make the beach a part of their Fourth of July festivities. Unfortunately, incidences in the water are another major reason why people wind up in an emergency situation each year. If you plan to hit the beach or pool this Fourth of July, be sure to swim with a friend or group of people. Additionally, make sure that children are supervised at all times. Do not assume that someone else is watching the kids. Statistics reveal that most of the young children who drown in pools have been unsupervised for less than five minutes. Complete devastation can literally occur in minutes.

Tip Number 3: Drink Responsibly

Since alcohol is typically part of most Fourth of July celebrations, it becomes another reason people are hurt, killed, or imprisoned each year due to its misuse and or abuse. If you are going to drink, do so responsibly. There is no reason to become falling down drunk at a family celebration, unfortunately in some situations this tends to be the case. If you plan to drink, be sure to designate a driver to bring you home after the party. Remember, not only is drinking and driving a dangerous and often lethal combination, so too can the use of alcohol and swimming or boating become a recipe for destruction if not done so responsibly.

Tip Number 4: Sun Protection

Since the Fourth of July is typically a holiday spent outdoors, it is important that you protect yourself from harmful UV rays. Apply sunscreen to all exposed areas of your body and be sure to reapply as necessary, especially if you plan to be in the water. Be sure the kids are adequately covered and also reapply as necessary. If you plan to spend extended periods of time in the sun, make sure you remain hydrated throughout the day. Minimize alcohol consumption, especially if you plan to be out in the direct sunlight.

Tip Number 5: Food Safety

The Fourth of July is also a time when people pack for picnics or spark up the barbeques. In both instances, certain measures must be taken in order to ensure your holiday is a safe one. For instance, when packing a picnic, limit the number of dishes you make containing mayonnaise as it can spoil in the sunlight and may result in food poisoning. The Federal Drug Administration recommends that food not be left out for more than one hour if temperatures exceed 90F and not more than two hours in cooler temperatures. For those dishes containing mayonnaise and/or eggs, be sure to pack adequate ice or freezer packs in order to keep food from spoiling. If planning to use the grill, do so with care, especially when using lighter fluid and matches. Be sure that meat is cooked at a safe temperature as undercooked meat can also lead to a variety of food-borne illnesses that you do not want to get!

Keep yourself and your loved ones safe this Fourth of July in whatever your plans may be. While a bunch of rules may seem like a bummer, they are designed to protect you from getting hurt or sick, or worse. Enjoy the Fourth and be safe!

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