What comes to mind when you think about the 4th Of July? Many people look at the 4th as a day to get out of their house and enjoy time with their friends and families; as a result America’s Independence Day often includes activities such as BBQing, swimming, and hiking.

Though fun, these activities bring with them a number of safety risks that can negatively impact your health and quickly put a stop to your 4th of July fun. Fortunately following a few basic safety guidelines will ensure that you can enjoy the day’s festivities without a health scare or, worse, an emergency trip to your doctor:

1. Take the proper precautions while outdoors. If you’re one of the people spending most of this holiday outdoors, remember to prepare for the health and safety risks associated with the activity you’re participating in. For example, hikers need to take steps to reduce their risk of being bitten by a tick. Anyone participating in strenuous outdoor activities should be able to recognize symptoms of heat related medical issues such as heat stroke. And no matter what you’re doing, always properly apply sunscreen throughout the day and drink plenty of water to ensure that you stay hydrated in the summer heat.

2. Protect yourself from bees and wasps. Bees and wasps are a potentially painful nuisance to some and a serious health risk to others. If you’re allergic to these insects’ stings, it’s best to keep an emergency anaphylaxis kit on standby during this holiday. However a few simple steps will greatly reduce the chances of needing to use your emergency kit:

  • If you’re at a party, always cover your food or beverages when you’re not eating or drinking them to ensure no insects accidentally fly into them. Covering anything on serving tables will also help deter insects looking for a free meal.

  • Always wear shoes to ensure you don’t step on an insect hiding in the grass.

  • Cover up as much skin as possible to reduce the number of areas an insect could sting you, and avoid wearing both bright colors and fragranced body products to help lessen your attractiveness to these stinging insects.

3. Follow basic safety guidelines while grilling or eating. It’s not the 4th of July without a cookout for many people. However even on a holiday there are basic safety guidelines to consider when using a grill or fire pit. It’s also important to follow safety guidelines for food preparations; according to medicinenet.com, “The U.S. FDA suggests never leaving food out for more than one hour when the temperature is above 90 F and not more than two hours at other times. Foods that need to be kept cold should be placed in a cooler with plenty of ice or freezing packs and held at a maximum temperature of 40 F. While mayonnaise and other egg dishes are often associated with food poisoning, any food can potentially become contaminated. Adequate hand washing and food preparation can also help prevent food poisoning.”

4. Be safe in and on the water. Swimming pools are often packed and boat rentals skyrocket during the 4th. Still, as fun as these activities are water can be an extremely dangerous environment, especially if you have children; according to medicinenet.commost young children who drown in pools have been out of sight for less than five minutes, so it’s important to always chaperone your young swimmers. Boaters, on the other hand, should always review safe boating practices and local boating laws before they head to the water, as well as stock their boat with plenty of life vests for everyone celebrating on board.

5. Celebrate responsibly. One of the simplest ways to stay safe on the 4th is the celebrate responsibly. This means:

  • Don’t handle fireworks irresponsibly - or illegally.

  • Drink responsibly - don’t drink and drive. (This applies to boaters as well, by the way!) Always have a designated driver if you expect to drink enough to impair yourself.

  • Always follow basic safety guidelines and use common sense when cooking, spending time around fires, swimming, etc.

It’s easy to get swept up into the partying spirit during major holidays; however we should never forget basic health and safety guidelines. Taking the proper safety precautions into mind as you finalize your holiday plans will help ensure that you can celebrate safety and still make it home in time to enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Do you have any questions or concerns regarding your health and this holiday? Let us know in the comments!