Wednesday, July 03, 2013
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4th of July & summer safety health tips

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[July 03, 2013]  SPRINGFIELD -- As we head into the Fourth of July holiday weekend, Illinois Department of Public Health Director LaMar Hasbrouck reminds us of the following health tips to help avoid injury and illness during the summer.

Food safety

For cookouts and picnics, temperature is key to avoiding foodborne illness.

  • Use a meat thermometer to make sure all meat and poultry is properly cooked -- ground beef hamburgers to 160 degrees F and hot dogs to 165 degrees.

  • Use a clean plate and utensils when taking food off the grill.

  • Keep hot food hot, 140 degrees or above, and cold food cold, 40 degrees or below.

  • Refrigerate leftovers within two hours.

The symptoms of most types of food poisoning include severe cramps, fever, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and bloody diarrhea. Symptoms can begin from 30 minutes to three or more days after eating contaminated food. If symptoms are severe or last longer than two days, contact a doctor or health care provider.

Water safety

Whether at the beach, on the lake or in a swimming pool, use safety precautions.

  • Supervise young children around water.

  • Avoid alcohol while supervising children and before or during swimming, boating or waterskiing.

  • Always use life jackets and secure personal flotation devices. Do not substitute air-filled or foam toys for safety gear.

  • Shower before enter a swimming pool, and do not swim if you have diarrhea.

  • Be aware of the local weather conditions and forecast. Especially watch for thunderstorms with lightning.

  • Know and obey the posted warnings that indicate beach conditions.

  • Pay attention to lifeguards or posted instructions.

Sun and heat

  • Protect yourself against sunburn and heat illness.

  • Apply sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher 30 minutes before going outside.

  • Increase your fluids. Drink more liquid than your thirst indicates; avoid alcohol and caffeine.

  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loosing-fitting clothing.

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  • Be aware of heat exhaustion symptoms -- heavy sweating, weakness, dizziness, nausea, clammy skin, pale or flushed complexion, and fast and shallow breathing.

    • Heat exhaustion treatment -- Move the person to a cooler place; remove or loosen tight clothing; and apply cool, wet cloths; give cool water to slowly drink.

  • Be aware of heatstroke symptoms -- hot, dry skin, hallucinations, chills, throbbing headache, high body temperature, confusion, dizziness and slurred speech.

    • Heatstroke treatment -- Call 911; quickly cool the person in a cool bath or wrap wet sheets around them; if the victim refuses water, is vomiting or shows a decreased level of consciousness, do not give anything to eat or drink

Ticks and mosquitoes

When camping, hiking or in your own backyard, guard against insect illnesses.

  • Wear insect repellent, wear insect repellent, wear insect repellent.

  • Mosquitoes can transmit West Nile virus and ticks can transmit Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis and other serious infections

  • Avoid being outside during prime mosquito-biting hours, dusk to dawn, and apply insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535, according to label instructions

  • Avoid tick-infested areas, such as the woods and high grasses, and use repellent containing 20 percent DEET or treat clothing with the repellent permethrin.

  • Remove ticks attached to the body using a pair of tweezers, and call your health care provider if you develop a rash, fever or body aches during the one to three weeks following a bite.

  • Check with a veterinarian about preventing tick-borne diseases in pets, as they can carry ticks into the home.

For more information on summer safety, check out the "Summer? No Sweat. A Summer Survival Guide" at

[Text from Illinois Department of Public Health file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]

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