As summer arrives in North Carolina, families eagerly look forward to enjoying the state's beautiful beaches,

lakes, rivers, and pools. While these activities offer great opportunities for fun and relaxation, it's crucial to be aware of the potential risks and take steps to prevent illness, injury, and even death. This article highlights key concerns about safe swimming, heat safety, and safe grilling practices to ensure a safe and enjoyable summer for everyone.

Safe Swimming Practices

Drowning remains the leading cause of death for children between ages 1-4 nationwide, but it is preventable. By following these safety measures, you can help protect your loved ones while enjoying North Carolina's waters:

Active Supervision:

Always keep an eye on children near water. Drowning often occurs quickly and quietly without the dramatic signs seen on TV. Ensure there is a designated adult supervising children at all times.

Secure Pool Areas:

Ensure gates or doors to pool areas are securely closed and locked when not in use. Never prop open gates or remove pool ladders when the pool is unattended to prevent unauthorized access.

Water Awareness: Stay informed about local water conditions, including the presence of strong currents, undertows, or sudden depth changes. This knowledge can help you avoid dangerous areas and keep everyone safe.

Health Precautions:

Avoid swimming if you or a family member has diarrhea to prevent the spread of illness. This simple step can significantly reduce the risk of waterborne diseases.

Water Disinfectant:

Ensure any pool or spa water is treated with the proper chemicals to prevent the spread of waterborne illnesses. Local health departments check water disinfectant levels and safety equipment at all public pools, spas, and splash pads during the annual pool permitting and inspection process.

Heat Safety Tips

North Carolina summers can get extremely hot, and prolonged exposure to high temperatures can lead to heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Here are some tips to stay safe in the heat:

Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Avoid beverages that can dehydrate you, such as alcohol and caffeine.

Wear Appropriate Clothing:

Choose lightweight, loose-fitting, and light-colored clothing to help your body stay cool. Don’t forget to wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses for added protection.

Seek Shade:

Take breaks in the shade or indoors to cool down, especially during the hottest parts of the day, typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Use Sunscreen:

Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to all exposed skin. Reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating.

Know the Signs:

Be aware of the symptoms of heat-related illnesses, such as dizziness, headache, nausea, and excessive sweating. If you or someone else shows signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, seek medical attention immediately.

Safe Grilling Practices

Grilling is a popular summer activity, but it’s important to follow safe grilling practices to prevent foodborne illnesses and injuries:

Proper Food Handling:

Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood separate from other foods. Use separate cutting boards and utensils to avoid cross-contamination.

Cook to Safe Temperatures:

Use a food thermometer to ensure that meat is cooked to a safe internal temperature. Ground beef should reach 160°F, poultry should reach 165°F, and fish should be cooked to 145°F.

Clean and Sanitize:

Wash your hands, utensils, and surfaces frequently. Clean the grill thoroughly before and after use to prevent contamination.

Safe Grill Placement:

Set up the grill in a well-ventilated area, away from buildings, overhangs, and flammable materials. Never leave the grill unattended while in use.

Avoid Grilling Indoors:

Never use a grill indoors or in an enclosed space, as this can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning and fire hazards.

By following these safety measures, you can enjoy all that North Carolina has to offer this summer while keeping your family safe and healthy. Remember, a little caution can go a long way in preventing accidents and ensuring a fun-filled summer for everyone.
 

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