Sunshine, Summer and Safety!
May 31, 2018
After a long winter, it really boosts the mood to see the sun!
Summertime means picnics, road trips, pool time and more outdoor fun. Be sure to make safety a priority in all of your summer activities.
Out in the Sun
- Limit your time in the sun. Remember that the sun's rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and don't be fooled by cloudy skies...the sun’s rays pass through clouds.
- Use sunscreen. Put sunscreen on 15-30 minutes before you go outside. Use a sunscreen with an SPF (sun protective factor) number of 15 or higher. It’s best to choose sunscreens
with “broad spectrum” on the label. “Water resistant” sunscreen stays on your skin even if you get wet or sweat a lot, but it isn’t waterproof.
- Reapply sunscreen. You’ll need to reapply your sunscreen about every 2 hours, and you’ll need to reapply more often if you’re swimming, sweating, or rubbing your skin with a towel.
Pay special attention to your face, nose, ears, and shoulders.
- Wear protective clothing. A hat with a wide brim can shade your neck, ears, eyes, and head. If you have to be in the sun, wear a lightweight, long-sleeved shirt and long pants.
- Protect your eyes. Look for sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of the sun’s rays.
- Hydrate! Drink plenty of water when you are outdoors. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- Use a lip balm with sunscreen.
If you are headed to a picnic, remember to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
If you are cooking foods on the grill:
- Keep meats or other perishable food cold until you are ready to cook.
- Use one cutting board and set of utensils for raw meat and a separate cutting board and utensils for other foods.
- Never reuse items that touched raw meat or poultry, including any sauces or marinades. Discard those marinades, and
use a clean plate and tongs to serve the cooked food.
- Use a food thermometer to make sure meat and poultry are cooked thoroughly to their safe minimum internal temperatures.
- See the chart to the right for minimum temperatures recommended by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
When serving food outdoors:
- 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.
- Serve cold food in small portions, and keep the rest in the cooler.
- After cooking meat and poultry on the grill, keep it hot until served – at 140 °F or warmer. Keep hot food hot by setting it to the side of the grill rack, not directly over the coals where it could overcook.
Other Summer Safety Tips
- Beat the bugs! To prevent mosquito bites, use insect repellant (find more information here), Use EPA-approved indoor and outdoor lying insect spray or foggers, wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants, don't leave doors or windows propped open, and be sure to check any standing water around your home. Once a week, scrub or empty planters, birdbaths, vases and flowerpot saucers. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water.
- Fireworks: Know your local laws regarding the use of fireworks, and follow these safety tips.
- Be Smart in the Water: Never swim alone, swim in areas supervised by a lifeguard, don't dive in unfamiliar areas, use lifejackets when boating, and remember that alcohol and swimming do not mix (find more water safety tips here).
- Don't Leave Kids or Pets in Hot Cars. Look before you lock. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, even on a mild day as low as 57 degrees, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach 110 degrees.
Wishing you a fun - and safe - summer!