Things NOT to do on 4th of July
Growing up with both of my parents being nurses (both spending time in the ICU, one a burn unit specialist) I have heard numerous safety tips around the 4th of July. I was a little envious of others who shot off fireworks. Of course half of my childhood was spent in Germany and I didn’t really have the option to light things on fire anyways…
I did always get to swirl the little sparklers around and that satisfied the pyrotechnic in me (for the most part.) Now with a husband and dog who are very anti-fireworks the tradition of sparklers continues. My daughter and I traditionally have spent this weekend at violin camp anyways. As I wait for her art class to complete, here are some safety tips related to staying out of the Emergency Room as our nation celebrates its Independence.
Don’t Drink and Drive
As one of the deadliest holidays for drunk driving crashes quickly approaches, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is urging motorists to drive sober, be alert and always buckle up. I wanted to not only remind people careful on beer’s highest grossing purchase day but also for others to be mindful of people who might have been drinking. According to data from NHTSA, during July 4th holiday period over the last five years (from 2009 to 2013), 750 people lost their lives in crashes involving drivers with a BAC of .08 or more. A lot of the accidents happened between 9pm and midnight!
Hurt Yourself with Fireworks
Did you know? The Consumer Product Safety Commission has an entire page dedicated to Fireworks Safety:
- 230 people on average go the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday.
- 67% of these fireworks injuries in 2014 occurred during the month surrounding July 4th.
- More than 50% of injuries related to fireworks are from burns
- 36% of burns are to the hands or fingers
- 2014 Fireworks Annual Report
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
Food and Grilling Safety
In order for foods to be cooked to their safest temperates (of killing germs and bacteria), please use the following guidelines:
SAFE MINIMUM INTERNAL TEMPERATURES
- Whole poultry: 165 °F
- Poultry breasts: 165 °F
- Ground poultry: 165 °F
- Ground meats: 160 °F
- Beef, pork, lamb, and veal (steaks, roasts and chops): 145 °F and allow to rest at least 3 minutes.
Follow USDA’s hashtag, #GrillingLikeaPRO, for the latest tips and tricks.
- P – Place the Thermometer
- R – Read the Temperature
- O – Off the Grill
Let’s spread the work about using a food thermometer and declare our freedom from food-borne illnesses
Don’t Forget Sun Safety
Again, I had parents who are nurses who treated people who suffered from skin cancer and other over-sun exposed ailments (dehydration, etc.)
- The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes
- Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts.
Most sun protection products work by absorbing, reflecting, or scattering sunlight. They contain chemicals that interact with the skin to protect it from UV rays. Reapply hourly. SPF 30.
- Wear a hat, sunglasses and other clothes to protect skin.
- Fewer than 15% of men and fewer than 30% of women reported using sunscreen regularly on their face and other exposed skin when outside for more than 1 hour.
- Seek shade, especially during midday hours. This includes 10 am to 4 pm
- Find the UV index for your area here, San Antonio is
Don’t Forget Animal Safety
You might want to go crazy like this dog:
But here are some rules from our friends at the ASPCA:
- Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals.
- Do not put glow jewelry on your pets, or allow them to play with it.
- Keep your little guys safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home.
It’s not too late to buy your dog a Thundershirt! Rick, our dog pictured directly ABOVE was a pound puppy rescue and has an intense fear of noises (PS4 turning on, camera shutter, thunder, fireworks) and in addition to his dose of veterinary prescribed sedative this Thundershirt works well.