Fairfield County Integrative Family Medicine, Trumbull, CT
Integrative Family Medicine - Healing Therapies in Fairfield County
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  Home » Newsletter » Summer Health Hazards, June 2013
 

Summer Health Hazards

Summer Health HazardsSummer officially arrives this month and the warm sunshine and extended hours of daylight beckons many to head outdoors. But before you race outside, follow our stay-safe guide to avoid common summer health hazards.

Picnic Poisoning

Cases of food poisoning tend to peak during summer months as warmer weather gives bacteria more opportunity to contaminate food. To prevent foodborne bacteria from striking your picnic, remember the following:

  • Keep cold foods as cold as possible during transport — 40 degrees or colder. A full cooler stays colder longer than a partially filled one, so pack food straight from the fridge with plenty of ice or ice packs.
  • Keep meat and poultry refrigerated until ready to use. When using a cooler, keep it out of the direct sun and avoid opening the lid to keep the cold inside.
  • Bring along a meat thermometer. Steaks should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees, ground beef and pork to 160 degrees, and poultry to 165 degrees.
  • After cooking meat and poultry on the grill, keep it hot until served — at 140 °F or warmer.
  • Keep cooked meats hot by setting them to the side of the grill rack.
  • When taking food off the grill, use a clean platter. Don’t put cooked food on the same platter that held raw meat or poultry to avoid cross-contamination.
  • In hot weather (above 90 °F), food should never sit out for more than 1 hour.

Dehydration

People can get dehydrated any time of year, but it’s much more common in the summer months, when they’re active outdoors in the warm sun. Heatstroke is the most severe form of dehydration. That’s when your internal temperature rises to dangerously high levels.
To prevent dehydration, drink plenty of fluids, especially water, take regular breaks in the shade, and try to schedule your most vigorous outdoor activities for times when the heat isn’t so strong, such as early morning or early evening.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related disorder. It occurs when the body’s temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. When heat stroke occurs, the body temperature can rise to 106 degrees Fahrenheit or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not given. In addition to a high body temperature, symptoms include: lack of sweating, nausea, flushed skin, confusion, hallucinations, unconsciousness, and rapid breathing and heart rate.

If you suspect someone has heat stroke immediately do the following:

  • Call 911
  • Bring the patient indoors in an air-conditioned area or to a cool, shaded area
    Cool them by:
  • Spraying, sponging, or showering them with cool water
  • Soaking their clothes with cool water
  • Fanning their body

Sunburn

With so many warnings about the dangers of sunburns, many people have gotten into the habit of slathering sunscreen on their bodies before heading outdoors. There are some areas of the body, however, that many people tend to neglect. Be diligent about keeping all exposed areas of your body well protected. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to: the ears (the back, rim, front and even inside of ear), tops of feet, hair part, back of your neck, lips and the sides of your face. Reapply sunscreen every two hours. Remember, waterproof sunscreen begins losing effectiveness after 80 minutes in the water, so reapply sunscreen before this time.

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