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Avoid the uh oh, and have a safe July 4 – WellSpan Health

Jul 5th, 2021

The Fourth of July is a day to laze in the sun, picnic in the backyard, and watch fireworks.

Stay healthy and avoid some common summertime ailments by following these easy tips. WellSpan is here for you 24/7 if you need us, but we want you to spend the day enjoying time with family and friends, not tending to injuries or illnesses.

The food

Summertime picnics can be a dicey time for foodborne illnesses. Food must be prepared correctly (no undercooked chicken or burgers!) and stored correctly (cold foods must be kept cold!).

July is a great time for healthy eating, with widely available fresh produce, said Frances Hadley, WellSpan clinical dietitian. But be careful when preparing foods and storing them correctly.

Tips: Hadley recommends following four simple steps: clean (wash your hands and use clean food prep utensils), separate (keep raw meat and eggs separate from other ingredients), cook (make sure the internal temperature of meats and other foods reaches the proper level) and chill (never leave perishable food out for more than two hours, or one hour if its hotter than 90 degrees outside).

Uh oh: Symptoms of foodborne illness include nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps or diarrhea. Older adults, young children, people with weakened immune systems and pregnant women are most at risk.

When to seek help: Seek medical attention if you have bloody diarrhea, diarrhea that lasts more than three days, a fever over 102 degrees, frequent vomiting that prevents you from keeping liquids down, or signs of dehydration such as little or no urination or dizziness.

The sun

The weather looks like it will be in the upper 70s to low 80s on July 4, with the possibility of rain. But South Central Pennsylvania has had some significant heat waves so far this summer. Know how to manage the hot weather when it comes.

I love spending time outdoors on a summer day, gardening or hiking with my family and dogs. But I try to take precautions and make sure I dont overdo it, said Dr. Ryan Crim, WellSpan family physician.

Tips: Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing, take advantage of the cooler morning and early evening for strenuous activity and find some shade, Crim recommends. Also, pace yourself, wear sunscreen that is SPF 15 or higher and broad spectrum or offers UVA/UVB protection, and drink plenty of fluids (dont wait until you are thirsty!). Keep pets in the shade and offer them lots of water, too, the physician adds.

Uh oh: Symptoms of heat-related illness include heavy sweating, clammy skin, fast pulse, nausea, cramps, dizziness, headache. Infants and young children, older adults, overweight people and people with underlying conditions are most at risk.

When to seek help: Your symptoms last more than an hour or worsen, you are vomiting, your temperature is 103 or higher or you pass out. Seek medical help immediately if that occurs, Crim said.

The fireworks

The boom, sizzle and color of fireworks are one of the best and most traditional parts of the Fourth of July. But leave the big ones to the pros.

Its common sense to be careful around fireworks but sometimes people get caught up in the excitement of the day, said Abbey LeCompte, a certified registered nurse practitioner with WellSpan Urgent Care . Be very cautious around any type of firework. Your vision and your limbs can be at risk. Even sparklers need special supervision when used by children.

Tips: Never allow young children to handle fireworks, never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol and wear protective eyewear or earplugs while using fireworks, LeCompte recommends. Also, never hold lighted fireworks in your hands and keep a bucket of water nearby and soak spent unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding.

Uh oh: Sometimes fireworks malfunction and dont go off as planned. NEVER re-light them, LeCompte said. Instead, discard the malfunctioning fireworks into a bucket of water.

When to seek help: You have burns on your skin that are red, blistered or swollen, you have ringing or buzzing in your ears, your vision seems impaired or you feel like you have something in your eye. Dont wait to get help for burns or other fireworks injuries that seem serious.

Need medical help on a holiday or after-hours? Call 911 if you experience a severe injury or illness. For more minor issues, WellSpan Urgent Care is here for you. We also offer 24/7 virtual appointments.

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Avoid the uh oh, and have a safe July 4 - WellSpan Health

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