- Prevent heat illness
- Keep food safe when grilling
- Stay protected from the sun
- Keep away pesky bugs
- Avoid bacteria and pests at picnics
- Avoid poison ivy
- Swim healthy and safe
- More information
Warm weather has arrived in Vermont, and the mountains are lush and green again. Swimming at the local pool, hiking in the woods, grilling with friends, and traveling are activities that many people will do during the summer months. You can prevent illness and injuries while enjoying the outdoors by following some simple, yet important health and safety tips.
For Weather related questions call the National Weather Service at 802-862-8711 or visit www.weather.gov/btv for a complete forecast.
Extreme heat can lead to life-threatening emergencies.
NEVER leave any children, pets or adults in a closed, parked vehicle.
- Wash hands with hot, soapy water before and after handling food.
- Keep food and drinks in separate coolers.
- Never leave perishable food out of the refrigerator for more than two hours. When the air temperature is above 90°, do not leave food out for more than one hour.
- Use clean utensils and dishes to serve food. Each dish should have its own serving utensils to avoid cross-contamination.
- Preheat cooking grills for 20-30 minutes before using.
- Allow meat to completely thaw in a refrigerator before placing on a grill.
- Marinate meat in a tightly sealed plastic container or sealable plastic bag, and keep refrigerated until ready to use. Do not reuse marinade.
- Use a meat thermometer to ensure meats have reached a safe, internal temperature: hamburger-160°; chicken-165°; pork-150°; steak-145°; hot dogs-140°.
- Serve grilled foods on a clean dish, not a dish used for raw meat.
- Leftovers should be refrigerated or placed in a cooler within one hour after use.
- UV rays are weakest before 11 a.m. and after 4 p.m. Plan activities during these times.
- Skin does not have to feel hot to get burned, so protect yourself even on cloudy days.
- Wear sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or greater, and apply at least 20-30 minutes before going outside.
- Wear UVA/UVB protective sunglasses, and a hat.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and juice. Alcohol consumption may cause dehydration.
- Protect your arms and legs with loose fitting, tightly woven cotton clothing.
- Stay indoors during extremely hot temperatures.
- Use bug repellant containing DEET to keep mosquitos, insects and ticks away.
- Do not use an all-in-one bug repellant and sunscreen, it's best to use two separate products
- Do not apply repellent to skin that is under clothing.
- Do not apply repellent to cuts, wounds, or irritated skin.
- Do not spray aerosol or pump products in enclosed areas.
- Do not apply aerosol or pump products directly to the face. Spray your hands and then rub them carefully over the face, avoiding eyes and mouth.
- For children, apply repellent on your own hands and then rub them on the child, avoiding child's hands, mouth, and eyes
- Remove ticks using a tweezer, grasping the tick as close to the skin as possible and pulling straight up to remove the tick. Do not squeeze, crush or puncture the body of the tick.
- After returning indoors, wash treated skin with soap and water and wash treated clothes before wearing them again.
- Don't forget to check your pets for ticks as well.
Learn more about:
- Carry picnic food in a cooler with a cold pack. Remember, a full cooler stays cool longer than a half empty one.
- Always take along some foods that don't require refrigeration.
- A cooler will stay colder if it is kept inside the car and not in the trunk.
- Keep coolers in the shade with the lid closed.
- Bring along alcohol-based sanitizers or disposable wipes to keep hands clean.
- When applying insect repellant, spray it away from food areas.
- Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water and when applicable, remove outer leaves or skin.
- Always assume that lake, pond, stream and river waters are not safe to drink. Take bottled water to drink.
- Place all trash in nearby receptacles or bring it home with you for disposal.
- When in the woods, wear long pants, long sleeves, boots, and gloves.
- Creams and lotions provide some protection against poison ivy.
- Do not let your pets run through wooded areas, they can easily pick up poison ivy.
- Do not burn plants that look like poison ivy.
- Poison ivy is not contagious and you can not spread it from scratching after you washed all exposed skin thoroughly.
- If you have been exposed, clean exposed skin with rubbing alcohol followed by soap and water.
- Clothes, shoes, tools or other items that may have contacted poison ivy should be wiped clean with alcohol and water.
9 Tips to Keep You Safe at the Swimming Hole this Summer
Stay Safe: If you plan to swim in a river or stream, use extreme caution and stay away from swift moving water. Heavy rain and flash flooding makes many swim holes, rivers and streams unpredictable and dangerous.
- Six "PLEAs" For Healthy Swimming: Protection Against Recreational Water Illnesses (RWIs)
- Questions and Answers for Swimmers
- Swimmer's Itch
For more information call the Vermont Department of Health, Division of Health Surveillance at 1-800-640-4374 (in Vermont) or 802-863-7240.