May 28, 2021
Keep safety in mind when enjoying summer activities
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
JEFFERSON CITY, MO – This Memorial Day, it is important for individuals to remember summer safety while making plans and enjoying everything outdoors that Missouri has to offer. Taking basic safety precautions can prevent a variety of injuries and illnesses, and could even save lives.
Tick and Mosquito Bite Prevention. Ticks and mosquitoes may be small pests, but their bite can have big consequences. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) remains concerned about the prevalence of ticks and mosquitoes throughout Missouri. The following safety precautions will help prevent both established and emerging diseases spread by ticks and mosquitoes.
- Use insect repellent with a minimum 20% DEET, picaridin or IR3535.
- When possible wear light colored, long sleeved shirts and pants.
- Always check yourself, family and friends for ticks after spending time outdoors.
- Remove ticks promptly.
Food Safety. Whether you are having a picnic, barbecue or fish fry, some simple food safety steps can prevent foodborne illness from crashing your celebration. The following safety guidelines should be followed:
- Always wash your hands before preparing foods and after handling raw meats, as well as before and after eating.
- Keep hot food hot (135°F or above) and cold food cold (41°F or below). Leftovers not kept under temperature control should be discarded if left out over two hours.
- Cook foods completely. Hamburgers should reach 155°F, fish and pork 145°F and chicken or other poultry 165°F.
- Avoid cross contamination of foods by keeping them separate and well wrapped.
Find more food safety tips here.
Hot Weather Safety. Every year, Missourians suffer from heat-related illness due to Missouri’s hot and humid summer weather. To avoid potentially deadly heat illness, using air conditioning, at home or in a local cooling center, is the best preventive measure. It is also important to become familiar with the following terms used to identify heat hazards:
- Heat wave: a prolonged period of excessive heat, often combined with excessive humidity.
- Heat index: a number of degrees Fahrenheit that tells how hot it feels when relative humidity is added to the air temperature. Exposure to sunshine can increase the heat index by 15 degrees.
- Heat cramps: muscle pains and spasms due to heavy exertion. Although heat cramps are the least severe, they are often the first signal that the body is having trouble with the heat.
- Heat exhaustion: typically occurs when people exercise heavily or work in a hot, humid place where body fluids are lost through heavy sweating. Blood flow to the skin increases, causing blood flow to decrease to the vital organs. This results in a form of mild shock. If not treated, the victim’s condition will worsen. Body temperature will keep rising and the victim may suffer heat stroke.
- Heat stroke: a life-threatening condition. The victim’s temperature control system, which produces sweating to cool the body, stops working. The body temperature can rise so high that brain damage and death may results if the body is not cooled quickly.
- Sun stroke: another term for heat stroke.
Find more information about heat hazards and prevention methods here.
Water Safety. Missouri has a wealth of recreational water areas from backyard ponds, lakes and streams to multi-million gallon water parks with wave pools and slides. All these recreational water options provide hours of fun, but dangers can lurk in the water. Drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional injury worldwide and among Missouri’s children. The majority child drowning fatalities in Missouri occurred in unsupervised children under the age of five.
A drowning can occur quickly and silently in a matter of seconds and young children can drown in as little as one inch of water. Children under the age of one are most likely to drown at home in a bathtub or bucket. Children aged one through five are most likely to drown in a pool. Children aged five and older are most likely to drown in open water such a lake, pond, stream or river. By following the safety tips below you can reduce the risk of drowning this holiday:
- Never leave a child unattended in or near water.
- Actively supervise children and stay within arm’s reach of young children. Avoid distractions.
- Teach children water safety skills and swimming skills as early as possible.
- Only swim in designated areas, preferably with a lifeguard. Remember lifeguards provide assistance in emergencies and should not be relied on for supervision.
- Warn children to stay away from drains in pools.
- Install proper barriers and covers around your pool and spa.
- Wear life jackets as appropriate. Life jackets should be US Coast Guard certified, the proper size for the individual, and in good condition. Floatation devices are not a substitution for adult supervision.
- Know CPR and if a child is missing, check the water first.
About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in protecting health and keeping people safe. More information about DHSS can be found at http://health.mo.gov or find us on Facebook and Twitter @HealthyLivingMo