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Happy Healthy Fourth of July

The Fourth of July was always a fun time for my family. From the moment we woke up in the morning until we went to bed at night, there was something fun planned all day on the Fourth of July. Yes, my family started the day off with a plan. We usually knew what was happening and the order in which it was going to happen. Here are some tips for you to plan to have a happy, healthy Fourth of July.

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1. Remember the water. Many Fourth of July activities happen outside at parks, picnics, carnivals or even outdoor vacation areas. Like any other summer day, it's important to stay hydrated and make sure that water is available for family members and pets. Even if you aren't participating in the family softball or volleyball game, simply sitting in the sun all day can make you dehydrated. Dehydration can make you feel tired, give you a headache, and may even make your muscles feel sore. The best drink choice for hydration is water.

2. Cook and cool your food. It's very important that you clean the grill first before using any public grill at a park or recreation area. You never know what the last thing that was cooked on that grill. Make sure the coals are nice and hot if using charcoal and be sure that all meat is cooked thoroughly. That means no pink (unless you like your steaks that way). If you provide a chilled dish, please make sure it is packed on ice to keep it below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. You may wish to store the food in an ice-packed freezer until it is ready to be served. As a personal rule, I generally stay away from any mayonnaise-based dishes such as potato salad or macaroni salad when at a picnic. These dishes have a greater likelihood than others of developing bacteria and causing food-borne illnesses because of the different combinations of food contained within them.


3. Practice fireworks safety. Although we sometimes forget, fireworks are actually tiny explosives. If not handled properly, fireworks can explode in your hand, in your eye, hit someone in the leg, or shoot in the wrong direction. Make sure that there is always a responsible adult present when fireworks are being used around children. Children playing with sparklers or other small fireworks should be monitored as well. A stray spark can catch clothing or a blanket on fire. Children also may burn their fingers. Keep a first aid kit handy for minor burns or scrapes. In more serious instances, go to the emergency room immediately.

4. Designate a driver. Many people like to celebrate the holiday by drinking alcohol. If you do, be sure that you have a responsible party drive you home or you have a place to stay so that you do not have to drive. It's better to stay overnight than it is to die on the way home because you chose to drink and drive. In 2017, 39% of traffic deaths (that's 2 out of 5) were caused by drinking and driving. It's great to have a good time, but remember your loved ones would like for you to be around to have future good times with them. Don't drink and drive.

5. Take a good bath/shower. At the end of the day, make sure you take a good bath or shower. No matter what you were doing, whether you were at the park, a parade, a picnic, a carnival, or even a family member's house, chances are you were exposed to a lot of dirt, a lot of bacteria, and a lot of other people. Wash all of the dirt, the grime, the charcoal, the sticky icky away by taking a good bath when you get home. Not only will you wash away the bacteria, but you will feel nice and clean and ready to have a good night's sleep.

Sources:
Michigan State University. MSU Extension. It must have been the potato salad....truths and myths about food poisoning and summer salads. Found online at: https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/it_must_have_been_the_potato_salad
United States Department of Transportation. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This July 4th, Celebrate America Safely. Impaired Driving is Deadly. Found online at: https://www.nhtsa.gov/drunk-driving/july-4th-celebrate-americasafe-and-sober
American Society for Surgery of the Hand. Fireworks Safety Tips. Found online at: https://www.assh.org/handcare/hand-safety/fireworks
American Heart Association. Staying Hydrated - Staying Healthy. Found online at: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/staying-hydrated-staying-healthy


Comments

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