Staying safe around the holidays can be tough as some can become injured by firework accidents, suffer from prolonged heat exposure, foodborne illnesses, and even dehydration. It also doesn’t help that we’re still in a pandemic where large social gatherings can spike up cases of COVID-19. When we head into this extended celebration, let’s remember these important COVID-19 health and safety tips for this Fourth of July.
Fourth of July Injuries: Injuries Happen
Fireworks can be dangerous and can cause serious injury to any body part. According to The Consumer Product Safety Commission more than 44% of injuries were burns. Specifically the hands, eyes and face were the most common injury from a firework mishap. On average, 180 people go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries during the holiday.
Some tips to help reduce firework related injuries can include:
- Having a bucket of water or hose ready for a fire or firework mishap
- Having adult supervision if a child is around
- Never allowing young children to play with fireworks
- Never pointing or throwing fireworks at another person
- Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have NOT ignited fully
2.Fourth of July: Heat-related Illnesses
Drinking and tracking the amount of water you intake can definitely reduce your chances of developing heat exhaustion and heat stroke (link opens in a new tab) . Eight 8 ounce glasses of water is normally enough each day, but because of the warmer weather, our need for water can also increase in order to replace what we lose daily through urination, sweating, and even exhaling.
Pack extra water before you leave the house. Know that this can help prevent a situation where you feel overheated or thirsty in the upcoming July heat wave.
If you’re not drinking enough water and feel any symptoms for heat exhaustion and or heat stroke, seek medical attention immediately. Stop strenuous activity and seek a cooler shelter if you can.
3. Fourth of July: Sunscreen Protection on 4th of July
Prolonged exposure to UV rays can have a negative effect on your eyes and skin. If you wear a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 or more, you can help reduce sun damage to the skin and even skin cancer.
The CDC studies recommends (link opens in a new tab) that you reapply every 2 hours. Even if you’re swimming and or toweling off the sunscreen washes off so you need to reapply as needed. If your skin is super sensitive to the sun, bring an umbrella for shade. You can also wear sunglasses and hats to reduce the UV rays from hitting your eyes.
It is important to remember that UV rays are at their strongest from late morning to mid-afternoon. So plan your trips and activities accordingly to avoid prolonged sun exposure.
4. Fourth of July: Gastroenteritis. It’s a thing!
If you’re planning a cookout or going to one, it is crucial to watch what you eat. Warm temperatures can cause rapid bacteria growth on foods left out in the sun. If you plan to cook, make sure that hot foods are kept hot at around 140 degrees or more. If you’re serving cold foods, pack a cooler and keep these foods below 40 degrees. Anything in between is considered the danger zone for bacteria growth. You don’t want to eat foods that are exposed to temperatures like that or left out for more than 2 hours. Food borne illnesses like gastroenteritis can be a result of uncooked meat or foods that got a little too much sun.
If you can:
- Use thermometers when cooking all foods
- Make sure to wash hands when serving or handling food
- Refrigerate and freeze food promptly
5. Fourth of July: Preventing COVID-19
We’re already halfway through phase 2. A lot of businesses reopened, some beaches have opened and some of us are now going out to eat. We made it this far, but as a community we still need to keep the momentum by practicing safe social distancing when planning a 4th of July event with families and friends. Phase 2 doesn’t mean COVID-19 is over. We still need to keep testing and follow CDC protocols to prevent a second wave of Coronavirus.
If you are planning an event where you are expanding your social circles you should:
- Keep it outside, keep the gathering small.
- Ideally, don’t share food. Bring your own booze and food.
- If you’re cooking, wear a mask and gloves when handling food.
- Keep at least 6 feet from each other and wear face coverings.
- Bring your own chairs if you’re going over someone’s house.
- Pack hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Wherever you do celebrate, we hope that you are safe and are mindful of others, especially if they are high risk for COVID-19. You should also think about getting tested before the event so you know you’re not bringing the virus to the party. It can also be hard to tell if someone at the event has come across someone who has the virus, especially if they’re asymptomatic. If you do end up becoming symptomatic because of this you can always get tested for COVID-19 at AFC Urgent Care West Hartford. Testing is quick and results are available in 24-48 hours.
Learn more about COVID-19 testing at AFC Urgent Care West Hartford
AFC Urgent Care West Hartford is Here For You
The Fourth of July is supposed to be fun and relaxing, but know that we are here for you just in case. Come on in to AFC Urgent Care West Hartford at 1030 Boulevard, West Hartford, where one of our providers is always available and is equipped to care for firework related injuries, heat related illnesses, and foodborne illnesses. We are open 7 days a week, 8am-8pm Monday-Friday and from 8am-5pm on the weekends. We accept most insurances and also offer a TeleCare service if you prefer to be seen virtually.
Have a happy and SAFE Fourth of July !