Primary Care

Tips for a safe and healthy 4th of July

July 01, 2021
Family sitting in a park holding American Flags

Summertime is here! After sheltering in place, we're all looking forward to gathering with family and friends to celebrate the 4th of July. From barbecues and picnics to swimming and fireworks, how we celebrate our country's independence is endless.

You're probably only thinking about planning your holiday festivities. But it's also important to consider your safety and health so you don't end up with an injury. According to the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, data shows a spike in accidents tied to many summer activities every July.“

We often see an increase in injuries around the holiday from fireworks, sun exposure, boating and other summer activities, “says Family Nurse Practitioner Melanie Ames, at Riverside Bruton Avenue Family Practice. “We encourage you to consider a few safety measures as you plan your holiday weekend.”

Keep these five tips in mind so you have a safe, healthy, and, more importantly, a fun-filled 4th of July holiday.

Tips for a safe and healthy 4th of July

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: Don’t wait until you’re thirsty! Drink plenty of fluids regardless of your level of activity. Of course, water is best. It’s tempting to drink cold sugary sodas, but avoid liquids that contain large amounts of sugar, caffeine and alcohol. Try infusing water with fresh mint, cucumbers, and basil. Sparkling water is also a refreshing drink option. Take it up a notch by squeezing fresh fruit in your glass like lemons, limes, and strawberries.

Eat healthily: Hamburgers and hotdogs are a tradition on the 4th of July. And don’t forget the potato chips! But consider serving some healthy sides instead of sugary or salty snacks. Bring carrot sticks or zucchini chips with a dip, a fresh fruit salad, and watermelon. And to prevent food poisoning, ensure poultry is fully cooked. Keep the cold foods cold and the warm foods warm and eat in moderation.

Be sun smart: Wear a coverup or a long-sleeved shirt to protect your skin, and always wear sunscreen. You should wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen that has an SPF of 15 or higher. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes, and don’t forget your floppy hat. A hat with a brim protects the back of your neck as well as the top of your head, ears, and face. And remember, UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., standard time.

Stay cool: Don’t get overheated. In hot temperatures, your body may not be able to cool itself down. Find a shady spot under a tree or bring a market umbrella for additional shade. During the hottest time of the day, move activities indoors.

Fireworks fun: Setting off fireworks isn’t the safest way to celebrate Independence Day. With so many fireworks funded by our cities and towns, you can find a show just about anywhere. Go to your city’s webpage or Facebook page to find out where and when the fireworks will occur. Check out outlying towns. Not everyone schedules their celebrations on the same day. And don’t forget to watch from a safe distance.

“There are many ways to celebrate the 4th of July, and it’s essential to have health and safety measures in place,” says Ms. Ames. “But it’s also important to have fun, enjoy gathering with family and friends, and bring on the 4th of July and summer with a bang, not with an injury.”

Find a Riverside doctor near you. If you or a loved one requires immediate medical care for a heat-related injury, find the emergency department nearest you.

 

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