Summer is a great time to enjoy outdoor activities. So whether you’re swimming, barbecuing, or dining outdoors the following tips will help ensure that you, your family, and friends enjoy every moment.
- Be sure everyone can identify dangerous plants such as poison oak, ivy and sumac. If someone touches one of these plants, rinse the area right away with soap and running water for at least five minutes.
- Never underestimate the power of an insect bite or sting. Insect stings may cause serious problems and even death for those with allergies. Go to a hospital right away if you develop hives after a sting, or have dizziness, breathing trouble or swelling around the eyes and mouth.
- Be sure to check the label on insect repellent. Select a product that is safe for the age of the user. Follow the directions for application on the label.
- Lighter fluid, gasoline, torch and lamp oils can be deadly if swallowed. Watch children closely at all times when these are being used.
- Use camp stoves, grills, and generators outside, never inside buildings or tents.
- Inhaling chlorine products can irritate the respiratory system. Homeowners who have swimming pools should store pool chemicals in a safe and secure place, out of children’s reach.
- Always wash hands and counters before preparing food and clean utensils for cooking and serving. Additionally, make sure you wash hands, cutting boards, utensils and dishes with hot, soapy water after handling raw meat, poultry or seafood.
- Store, cook and reheat food at the proper temperatures. Refrigerated foods should not be left out at temperatures above 40 degrees F and do not let food sit out at room temperature for more than two hours.
- Watch for signs of food poisoning including fever, headache, diarrhea, stomach pains, nausea and vomiting.
- Do not leave products containing alcohol where children can reach them. Alcohol can be dangerous to children, leading to respiratory depression, coma or even death. Signs that a child may have consumed alcohol include sleepiness.
Even with the best care and safeguards, accidents do happen. If you suspect a poisoning, don’t wait to see what happens. Call the 24-hour Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222 to reach your local poison control center. Poison control centers are staffed by nurses, pharmacists, doctors and other specially trained poison experts. Calls are free and confidential, and help is available in 161 languages. Services are also available for the hearing impaired. Post the number by your home phone and program it into your cell phone for quick access. If you would like to learn more about the Poison Help line, visit the Poison Help Web site at www.PoisonHelp.hrsa.gov.
Did You Know?
Did you know that the Poison Help line, which connects you to your local poison center, can be a resource for your food poisoning concerns? This summer, remember that refrigerated foods should not be left out at temperatures above 40 degrees F and food should not sit out at room temperature for more than two hours. For more tips, call Poison Help at 1-800-222-1222, or go to www.PoisonHelp.hrsa.gov, available in English and Spanish.
Courtesy of Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Poison Control Program. HRSA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the primary Federal agency for improving access to health care services for people who are uninsured, isolated or medically vulnerable.
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Author : Diba Tillery RN, BSN, IBCLC, CPST