Summer outdoor safety

Summer is here and that means it's a good time to go outside and enjoy the weather. The warm temperature brings the opportunity for freedom, relaxation, exploration, and being closer to nature. Whether you're relaxing in the backyard, turning up your garden, hitting the pool, or exploring the great outdoors. Here are some ways to help keep you and your family healthy this summer.

1. Dining al fresco
• Nothing says summer like the smoky flavor of foods cooked out on the grill. When grilling, use a meat thermometer to make sure that you cook meat and poultry thoroughly. Ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F in order to kill germs found in raw and undercooked meat. Also, put cooked meat on a clean platter, rather than back on the one that held the raw meat, to avoid cross-contamination.
• Wash hands, kitchen work surfaces, and utensils with soap and water immediately after they have been in contact with raw meat or poultry. Whether you're cooking out in the backyard or on a picnic, always keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. When you're finished eating, refrigerate leftovers promptly.


2. Around the yard
• Seal up, trap up, and clean-up to prevent rodent infestation. As you're clearing out clutter, fill any gaps or holes inside and outside your home. Eliminate or seal rodent food sources such as pet food, bird feeders, and garbage cans. Elevate hay, woodpiles, and garbage cans at least 1 foot off the ground, and trim grass and shrubbery within 100 feet of your home.
• In the yard, remove any items that may collect standing water, such as buckets, old tires, and toys. Mosquitoes can breed in them in just days. You can reduce the number of ticks around your home by removing leaf litter, brush and woodpiles around your house and at the edge of your yard. By clearing trees and brush in your yard, you can reduce the likelihood that deer, rodents, and ticks will live there. Replace or repair torn window screens to keep bugs out of the house.
• Gardening is a great outdoor activity for people of all ages. Stay safe and healthy as you grab your tools and head outside. Wear gloves and use safety gear when handling equipment and chemicals. Also watch out for extreme heat and know your limitations.
• Pollen and air pollutants can be triggers for allergic reactions and asthma. Some experiences include nasal and sinus allergies and hives. Wearing a protective nose and mouth mask, or even sunglasses or protective eyewear, while doing yard work could help to avoid the triggers that cause allergy and asthma complications.

3. Fun in the sun
• Protect yourself and your family from recreational water illnesses (illnesses caused by germs or chemicals in recreational water) by doing your part to keep germs out of the pool. Do not swim when you have diarrhea, don't swallow pool water, take a shower before swimming, and wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers. Keeping germs out of the pool means a healthier swimming experience for everyone.
• Prevent skin cancer. Avoid being outdoors during the midday if the sun is intense, use sunscreen with at least SPF 15, cover up with clothing, wear a brimmed hat, and wear sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays. Be aware of the signs of heat stress.



4. In the great outdoors
• When you're out on the trail, whether hiking, camping, or hunting, protect yourself from mosquitoes and other bugs by using insect/tick repellent. Check your clothes and body for ticks daily. If you find any ticks, carefully remove them with tweezers. The ticks that transmit Lyme disease are most active in May, June, and July, but check for ticks in all warm months to protect yourself against other tick-borne diseases.
• Just because a stream's water looks clear, it doesn't mean it's safe to drink. Giardia and Cryptosporidium are two parasites that you can't see, but they can make you very sick, so follow healthy swimming tips. Always treat or filter water to make it safe to drink.

For more information/tips for a healthy and safe summer, please visit

Enjoy the great outdoors. Have a safe and healthy summer — 

Adapted from

Photo attributions:
Dining al fresco: By Benson Kua from Toronto, Canada (Summer Memory  Uploaded by tm) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Around the yard: By Mrmatiko (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Fun in the sun: Attribution not legally required —
In the great outdoors: By Surfsupusa at English Wikipedia (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons