Memorial Day marked the unofficial start of summer! The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) wants it to be a safe and healthy summer for all Georgians and visitors to the state. Below are some tips on staying safe while having fun.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
The Georgia Department of Public Health is the lead agency in preventing disease, injury and disability; promoting health and well-being; and preparing for and responding to disasters. For more information about DPH, visit www.dph.ga.gov.