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Stay Safe this Fourth of July

Stay Safe this Fourth of July Combining food, fireworks and festivities, the Fourth of July is a great family- friendly holiday. But, it also tends to be a busy time in the emergency department.

“Hand and eye injuries are the two biggest concerns we have around the Fourth of July,” explains Timothy Dougherty, M.D., medical director, Cape Coral Hospital Emergency Department. “These injuries are usually caused by fireworks—whether it’s debris in the eyes or losing a finger or two because of handling the fireworks too close to the fuse.”

Dr. Dougherty says eye injuries run the gamut of ages, but hand injuries occur more often with teens and adults.

“Alcohol consumption goes hand-in-hand with fireworks accidents,” he says. “If you are the person responsible for the explosives, you should not have a drink in your hand.” In addition to maintaining sobriety, the person in charge of the fireworks should set them up in a safe area and should know which way the wind is blowing—this ensures that spectators are not at risk of embers flying toward them.

When it comes to children and sparklers, Dr. Dougherty says explanation is the key to safety. “Before handing a child a sparkler, explain the safety requirements,” he says. “Tell them the sparklers are hot and pointy, and they shouldn’t run at each other with the sparkler in their hand, reach out to touch the embers or hold the sparkler too close to their face.”

“Alcohol consumption goes hand-in-hand with fireworks accidents, ” says Dr. Dougherty. “f you are the person responsible for the explosives, you should not have a drink in your hand.”

Another important safety measure for children is to keep them away from the grill. “We don’t see as many grilling injuries, but it is worth mentioning that a parent should be near the grill at all times,” Dr. Dougherty says. “The grill should be kept in a safe place, where children won’t be playing or running around it.”

Dr. Dougherty says a lot of tragedies can be avoided if simple precautions are made. “You want to enjoy the Fourth of July, but you don’t want to regret it,” he says. “A safe holiday comes down to a little preparation and common sense.”


Simple Tips to Keep Food Safe at Parties and BBQs

Patients with diabetes may develop diabetic neuropathy or Charcot neuropathy, which affects the bones and joints.

  • Food safety begins with clean hands. Always wash hands for 30 seconds with warm water and soap before preparing food and after sneezing, touching your face, nose or hair, and after handling raw meat or poultry.
  • Keep cold foods cold—less than 41° F—and hot foods hot—above 140° F.
  • Use a food thermometer to ensure that food is cooked to the correct temperature—165° F for poultry (whole and ground); 160° F for ground beef; and 145° F for whole muscle meats (like pork and beef), and always reheat foods to 165° F.
  • If you are preparing food ahead of time, cook the food, portion it into small containers and immediately put it in the refrigerator. It is not necessary to wait for the food to cool before putting it in the refrigerator.
  • Prevent cross contamination—put raw meats in tightly secured containers when transporting in a cooler and do not reuse platters or utensils that have touched raw meats.
  • Do not keep food out for more than two hours, or one hour if temperatures exceed 90° F. If possible, place cold food items in bowls/pans filled with ice and keep hot food in an insulated container.
  • If you are sick with symptoms that include vomiting, diarrhea, jaundice or fever with sore throat, do not handle food.


BBQ Food Safety


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