Happy Fourth of July from Medical Associates of Northwest Arkansas! Part of what makes celebrating Independence Day so much fun—things like fireworks, swimming, sun, and cookouts—can also pose health risks. Celebrating responsibly and being mindful of these risks, however, can help keep you and your family safe during the holiday. Here’s some information about fireworks safety and other tips to help you safely celebrate Independence Day!
If it’s legal for you to light fireworks in your city, make sure that you do so safely.
- Always use fireworks as instructed on the package.
- Do not hold fireworks or light them in your hand.
- Have water nearby.
- Children should be supervised by an adult at all times.
- Never point fireworks towards others, and make sure everyone is aware when lighting fireworks.
- Make sure fireworks aren’t pointed towards homes, buildings, trees, etc.
- Do not stand above or look directly into fireworks.
- Do not approach fireworks that fail. Wait several minutes before carefully approaching, then soak defective fireworks with water.
Here’s some additional fireworks safety information.
Picnics, backyard barbecues, and outdoor spreads are all part of the Fourth of July festivities. Don’t let foodborne illness ruin your holiday.
Remembering the four keys to food safety—clean, separate, cook, and chill—can help keep you, your family, and your guests safe from foodborne illness.
- Clean: Always be sure to wash your hands, and ensure that surfaces, utensils, and dishes are clean. Wash fruits and vegetables, but do not wash poultry, meat, or eggs.
- Separate: Avoid cross-contamination and keep knives and cutting boards used for raw meat separate from from those used for fruits and vegetables. Always keep ready-to-eat foods separate from those that must be cooked.
- Cook: Know the correct cooking temperatures for meat and poultry, and keep a thermometer handy. Poultry should be cooked to 165°F, ground meats should be cooked to 160°F, and beef, pork, lamb chops, steaks, and roasts should be cooked to 145°F.
- Chill: Within two hours after serving, refrigerate foods such as dairy, meat, eggs, and anything that can spoil.
Read our post on food safety for more information.
Whether you swim in a pool, river, or lake, certain water safety rules apply. Always inspect swimming areas before entering, check to see if there’s a lifeguard on duty, and always supervise children while swimming.
Here’s more information about healthy and safe swimming.
Make sure that you’re ready for a full day of activities in the sun.
- Avoid being outside in direct sunlight during peak sunlight hours.
- Seek shade to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun.
- Be sure to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen and reapply often. Here’s how to choose sunscreen for your child.
- Heat affects people differently. Keep your eye on the temperature and remember that older adults and young children are more susceptible to heat-related illness.
- Be sure to hydrate throughout the day.
- Know the signs of heat-related illness. Here’s more information about heat-related illness.
We wish you a happy and safe Fourth of July!