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HEALTH Urges People to Take Precautions for a Safe and Healthy Fourth

HEALTH Urges People to Take Precautions for a Safe and Healthy Fourth

HEALTH wants everyone to enjoy a safe and healthy Independence Day holiday. As preparations for festivities begin, people should take precautions to avoid illness and injury.

Food Safety Warm temperatures provide the perfect breeding ground for harmful bacteria that can cause foodborne illness – especially in chicken and poultry. Raw poultry, beef, and other meats can be naturally contaminated with bacteria that cause acute illness like vomiting, but can also lead to hospitalization or death. Young children, pregnant mothers, and the elderly are especially vulnerable to foodborne illness. • When preparing meats, keep hands, utensils, and food surfaces clean to avoid contaminating other foods, like salad and sliced vegetables. Never put food on a surface that has touched raw meat. • Always keep raw meat cold in the refrigerator, and don't let juices drip onto other foods and surfaces. Marinate meat in the refrigerator and take it out just before you are ready to grill it. • Though poultry cooked on a grill often browns very fast on the outside, you can't tell if it's fully cooked by just looking. Use a food thermometer to make sure the food reaches 165° F. Don't let raw chicken touch other foods on the grill and don't use the marinade that you used for raw chicken on the chicken when it is cooking. • Never place cooked meat back on the same plate or cutting board that held raw food.

Fireworks Consumers who decide to purchase legal fireworks are urged to follow these safety tips to avoid injuries and burns: • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers. • Always have an adult closely supervise fireworks activities. • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks. • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap. • Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away. • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers. • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding the device to prevent a trash fire.

Sun Safety Protect yourself from exposure to the sun's rays and reduce your risk of sunburn, skin cancer, and heat stress. • Apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and both UVA and UVB protection before you go outside, even on cloudy days. • Reapply sunscreen after swimming or sweating or after staying outside for more than two hours. • Wear clothing, sunglasses, and a hat with a wide brim to protect exposed skin. • Seek shade, especially during midday hours. • Drink plenty of fluids.

Avoid Ticks and Mosquitoes To prevent tick and mosquito-borne illnesses, use an appropriate insect and tick repellent (with 20% DEET) and apply it properly. You can also treat clothing with the repellent. Prime mosquito-biting hours are usually dusk to dawn, but ticks are out at all times. • Wear long sleeved clothing and pants, in addition to insect repellent, to protect yourself from bites. • Avoid tick-infested areas (especially areas with leaf-litter and high grasses). • After coming indoors, shower as soon as possible and check your body for ticks.

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