July is here, which means it’s time to start grilling up some barbeque, pulling out your swimsuits and getting some exercise in the water. While you’re having fun in the sun during your Fourth of July festivities, remember to be cautious about your safety throughout the holiday when it comes to fireworks, water, and bug spray.
Nothing says Fourth of July quite like a spectacular display of fireworks. While you're oohing and ahhing, keep in mind that fireworks can be dangerous. They sent 10,000 individuals to the hospital and urgent care clinics in 2019 with injuries ranging from burns to eye injuries.
Stay safe this holiday with these tips:
- Always read and follow the label. It’s important to read every detail on the firework directions and warnings.
- Have water handy. A bucket of water or garden hose can quickly put out any fire and cool hot sparklers and fireworks.
- Only light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface. Make sure there are no dry leaves or other flammable materials near you. Be sure to light fireworks away from the house.
- One is enough. Light only one firework at a time. Leave the dazzling displays to the professionals.
- Approach ‘dud’ or failed firework with caution. Douse a failed firework with water before approaching it.
- Dispose of fireworks properly. First, soak them in water. Then, dispose of them in a trash can.
- Always wear eye protection. We’ve seen far too many serious eye injuries from fireworks in our ED and Urgent Care. Wear safety goggles when you’re setting off fireworks.
Another summertime staple is jumping in the swimming pool to cool off. Before you head to the pool with friends and family, be sure to brush up on your water safety.
- Learn CPR. Everyone should know CPR. Community organizations, like The Red Cross, regularly offer first aid and CPR classes. Grab a group of friends and learn how you can save someone's life.
- Never swim alone. Make sure that you always have someone with you while you swim. And never let a friend, child or family member go swimming on their own.
- Dive only where permitted. Diving into a shallow pool can cause major head injuries. Jump in legs first.
- Know your limits. Do not go into areas of water that you cannot handle.
- Wear a life preserver when boating. River currents can be faster than you think, not to mention water is deep. Stay safe and always wear a life preserver – even if you know how to swim.
Bug Spray Safety
It seems another rite of passage of summer is bug bites. Bug spray is a safe and effective way to keep bugs off your skin. The first step is to find a formula that's right for you.
There are many types of bug sprays: Natural formulas that don't contain any chemicals; and chemical formulas, like DEET or Picaridin. Both DEET and Picardian are safe for babies and pregnant women. However, many experts recommend sticking to a formula with 30% DEET or less. Be sure to select a bug spray that will offer the coverage you need based on your activity and setting and won't irritate skin.
Once you have bug spray in hand, make sure you apply it safely:
- Follow the label. Every bug spray is different. Read the label before applying.
- Apply sparingly. Spray only on exposed skin or clothing – and be sure to keep it out of your eyes!
- Watch for cuts. Avoid applying bug spray on open cuts or wounds.
- Do not inhale. Be careful not to breathe in bug spray right after spraying. Encourage children to hold their breath and then move away from the area it was applied.
- Wash it off. After a fun day outdoors, wash repellent off the skin. Wash hands after applying bug spray, too.
Learn more about how our Urgent Care Centers can help you and your family with urgent health needs throughout the summer and all year long. Not sure when to see your doctor, vs. head to urgent care, vs. go to the emergency department? This article, I'm Sick: Where Do I Go? breaks it down for you.