Safe Fun in the Summertime
As summer kicks into high gear with fun and games, remember it is important to be aware of safety and the dos and don’ts to stay safe. In focusing on well-being, consider food safety, water safety and personal safety. Now keep in mind these three are not an all-inclusive list, but a starting point to share essential safety tips for the season.
The mantra on this one is to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Keep a cooler in the car—it doesn’t have to be the chic model with all the bells and whistles—the value-priced white Styrofoam from the drug store will serve the purpose. As you’re grocery shopping for perishables or picking up ready-to eat foods, place them in the cooler to make sure the food temperature stays cool. Now if you think it will be a bit longer than you expected to get home, add some frozen vegetables, juice or bagged ice to the cooler.
If you’re making salads such as potato salad or coleslaw with mayonnaise or mayonnaise-like salad dressing it is a myth that the mayonnaise or salad dressing causes foodborne illness. Commercially prepared mayonnaise and salad dressings are made with highly acidic ingredients, pasteurized eggs, and they’re produced under stringent quality controlled methods. These factors add up to an acidic and unfavorable environment for bacteria. It’s unlikely that the mayonnaise or salad dressings are the culprits for a foodborne illness. However, if these creamy dressings are blended with produce, meat, poultry or seafood that has not been handled or prepared using safe food handling guidelines, those items may be contaminated and foodborne illness can result.
Playing in water is highly favored for cooling off and appealing to both children and adults. But it is important to make sure any age group stays safe at the beach, in the lake, or at the local or neighbor’s backyard pool. The following guidelines will go a long way toward ensuring water safety.
- Make water safety a priority.
- Avoid unsupervised access to bodies of water.
- Enroll or encourage children to take swimming lessons.
- Maintain constant supervision of children and inexperienced swimmers.
- Know what to do in an emergency.
- If you enjoy boating, make sure everyone dons a U.S. Coast Guard approved lifejacket.
- Avoid alcohol which can impair judgment, affect swimming and diving skills and reduce the body’s ability to stay warm.
Though food safety and water safety do affect personal safety, staying hydrated is essential especially during warm weather months. The temperature, humidity, your sweat rate and intensity of any exercise can affect the amount of liquids you need to stay well hydrated. Whether you’re a week-end warrior or high performances athlete, it is critical that you’re adequately hydrated before during and after exercise. The American Council on Fitness suggests the following guidelines for moderate to high intensity exercise:
- Drink 17 to 20 ounces of water 2 to 3 hours before you start exercising.
- Drink 8 ounces of water 20 to 30 minutes before you start exercising or during your warm-up.
- Drink 7 to 10 ounces of water every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise.
- Drink 8 ounces of water no more than 30 minutes after you exercise.
As the temperature rises, the amount of water required to stay hydrated increases for everyone. When you recognize that you are thirsty, that is a red flag that you are dehydrated. In addition to thirst, symptoms of dehydration include dry lips and mouth, a small amount of saliva, a small amount of urine that is dark yellow. The following are warning signs that indicate immediate medical attention is needed:
- rapid strong pulse
- high fever
Summer brings lots of options to enjoy food, activities and fun with friends and family, just remember to play it safe keeping these guidelines for food, water and personal safety top of mind.
Take Away: Make safety a priority. This will help ensure an enjoyable summer season that is memorable for all the right reasons.