ATLANTA –The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) wants it to be a safe and healthy 4th of July for all Georgians and visitors to the state.
This weekend, Georgia will experience the warmest days of the year so far. Temperatures will reach the upper-90s, but with high humidity, it will feel more like 100-degrees plus. Smoke and haze will also trigger air quality alerts for Metro Atlanta and beyond. Be sure to stay well hydrated and out of the heat for prolonged periods of time.
Below are some tips on staying safe while having fun this weekend and throughout the summer.
HEAT AND SUN can cause skin damage, skin cancer and serious illness, but there are ways to enjoy the summer and stay protected.
Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing, hat and sunglasses.
Use sunscreen with at least SPF (sun protection factor) 15 and UVA (ultraviolet A) and UVB (ultraviolet B) protection. Reapply sunscreen if you stay out in the sun for more than two hours and after swimming, sweating or toweling off.
Stay hydrated – drink plenty of water! Avoid alcohol and drinks with caffeine and sugar.
Avoid strenuous activity, take breaks.
Never leave children or pets in a hot car.
Call 911 if someone has signs of heatstroke:
Find a place out of the sun to cool off.
Check on family members, older adults and neighbors.
FOODBORNE ILLNESSES tend to increase during the summer months for two reasons. One reason is that bacteria tend to multiply faster when it’s warm. Another reason is that people are cooking outside more, away from the refrigerators, thermometers and washing facilities of a kitchen.
Clean surfaces, hands and utensils with warm water and soap. Wash produce under running water before cutting, eating or cooking.
Separate raw and cooked meat and poultry from ready-to-eat foods (raw vegetables and fruits). Use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw meat and ready-to-eat items like vegetables or bread.
Cook food to the proper temperature – use a food thermometer to check.
Beef, pork, lamb and veal (steaks, roasts, chops): 145 °F with a three-minute rest time
Ground meats: 160 °F
Whole poultry, poultry breasts and ground poultry: 165 °F
Chill. Perishable food should not sit out for more than two hours. In hot weather (above 90 °F), food should NEVER sit out for more than one hour.
SWIM SAFELY. We all share the water we swim in, and each of us needs to do our part to help keep ourselves, our families and our friends healthy.
Don’t swim or let children swim if sick with diarrhea.
Check out the latest pool inspection results. You can find pool inspection scores online.
Shower for at least one minute before you get into the water. This will remove most of the dirt and sweat on your body.
Don’t swallow the water.
Take children on bathroom breaks and check diapers every hour.
Change diapers in a bathroom or diaper-changing area—not poolside—to keep germs away from the pool.
A responsible adult should constantly watch young children.
Check for a lifeguard or to see where safety equipment, such as a rescue ring or pole, is available.
MOSQUITOES and summer go hand in hand in Georgia. Avoiding mosquito bites protects you and your family from mosquito-borne illness and helps prevent the spread of mosquito-borne illness in Georgia.
Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET (20-30%) or Picaridin, IR3535 or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Follow all label instructions for safe and effective use. If you’re using sunscreen, apply it first, followed by insect repellent.
Wear light-colored clothing, including loose-fitting long-sleeves, pants and socks to help protect against mosquito bites.
Tip ‘n Toss standing water after every rainfall or at least once a week to eliminate breeding locations for mosquitoes and prevent the spread of illness.
FIREWORKS light up the sky on the 4th of July, but they are best left to the professionals. Keep in mind, too, that sparklers burn at 2000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals.
· Never allow young children to handle fireworks or sparklers. Older children should use them only under close adult supervision
· Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol
· Only use them away from people, houses, and flammable material
· Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting
· Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding.
· Sparklers can quickly ignite clothing, and children have received severe burns from dropping sparklers on their feet.