Thursday, June 30, 2011

Six Ways to Keep Your July Celebration Injury-Free

I received this from our local police department and thought it might be nice to pass along...

1. Prepare for Sun and Heat
Here's hoping the sun shines on your festivities. But if it does get hot, be prepared.
  • Demonstrate and encourage sun safety. Remind guests to cover up to prevent sunburn and to bring sunscreen. Have extra sunscreen on hand to share with your guests.
  • Have lots of water available to help prevent dehydration, which can lead to heat illness.
  • Watch guests for signs of heat illness, including cramps, exhaustion, nausea, dizziness, pale and clammy skin, quick pulse and low blood pressure.
Mild cases of heat illness can be treated by moving the person to a cool area and supplying water to drink. However, heat stroke - when perspiration stops and the body temperature rises - is a life-threatening condition and requires immediate medical help.
2. Plan for Biters and Stingers
Mosquitoes, wasps and hornets are regular party crashers. Of course, the best way to prevent a sting or a bite is to avoid the insects. For example:
  • Wear insect repellent and re-apply frequently when sweating.
  • Avoid bright, flowery print clothing. Instead, wear light-colored fabrics.
  • Don't use scented toiletries- they attract bugs.
  • Keep food covered, especially fruit and soft drinks.
  • Don't swat at stinging insects or wave your arms about. Let the insects fly away on their own.
If someone does get stung, to remove a visible stinger, scrape it off sideways with a credit card or fingernail. Never try to pinch it out; this can inject more venom.
For mild reactions, apply ice or baking soda to the sting and take an antihistamine. If hives spread quickly or if there's difficulty breathing, get to an emergency room immediately. Most deaths from severe reactions occur within 30 minutes.
3. Designate Safe Drivers
When you organize a party, you need to consider how everyone will get home safely. Here are some ideas:
  • Arrange designated drivers before the party starts.
  • Serve other beverages besides alcohol.
  • Serve high protein food such as cheese snacks.
  • Plan party activities that do not center around drinking.
  • Close the bar an hour before the party ends and serve non-alcoholic beverages and snacks.
  • Prevent intoxicated guests from driving.
4. Keep Foodborne Illnesses Off the Menu
Food safety is serious business. To prevent foodborne illness:
  • Food, utensils and surfaces must be kept clean and protected from contact with disease-carrying insects such as flies.
  • Serve hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Keep meat hot on the barbecue until it is served, and cold items such as salads refrigerated. Use convenient freezer packs to transport perishable foods in coolers to picnic spots.
  • Cook meat thoroughly and use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature. (Hamburger can look brown inside before it's been safely cooked.) It's unsafe to serve chicken pieces that haven't reached at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius). Burgers and pork must be heated to at least 160 degrees F (71 C) and steaks, roasts and chops should reach a minimum of 145 degrees F (63 C). Partially pre-cooking meat in your microwave is fine, as long as you don't let it sit around before it's barbecued.
5. Be Water Wise
Children, summer and water are a trio made to be together. But this trio can also be a deadly combination. If there's a body of water (pool, lake, ocean, river, etc.) near your celebrations that children will be playing in, then you must:
  • Establish and enforce water safety rules.
  • Make sure a responsible adult is present when children are in or near the water.
  • Have reaching and throwing water safety aids handy.
  • Have a first aid kit handy.
6. Handle Fireworks Safely
Fireworks are safer than they used to be, but every year serious injuries do still occur. If fireworks are part of your celebration plans, follow these guidelines:
  • Read and follow directions carefully.
  • Only ignite fireworks outdoors in a well-cleared area.
  • Have a responsible adult supervising all fireworks activity.
  • Light fireworks one item at a time.
  • Have a bucket of water available to douse used fireworks.
Does this all sound like a lot of work? It isn't. As a good host, you put a lot of thought and planning into creating a festive setting for your family and friends. It's just a few more steps to create a safe environment, too.

Source: Catherine Jones,



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