I hope everyone has a happy Fourth of July weekend. Those of us in public health have some tips on how to make your celebrations safe while you’re enjoying time with family and friends.
Please be aware when enjoying time with others that COVID-19 remains active in our communities. Variants such as Delta (B.1.617.2) raise the prospect of more contagious and potentially more lethal forms of the virus. Vaccines have proven highly effective against Delta and other variants, so if you aren’t already vaccinated please consider doing so as soon as possible to protect yourself and others. Our vaccine finder map lists hundreds of convenient providers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers this advice on activities for those who are vaccinated and unvaccinated. If you aren’t fully vaccinated, be sure to follow common-sense recommendations such as wearing a mask, washing hands frequently, and maintaining distance around those who aren’t members of your household. Also be sure to avoid large gatherings. In general, those who are fully vaccinated can resume activities indoors and outdoors without masks and physical distancing except where required by federal, local, or business rules.
For everyone, summer holiday safety includes being safe in the heat. Be sure to stay hydrated, wear lightweight, light-colored clothing, apply sunscreen frequently, and limit your time outdoors during the hottest parts of the day (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Know the signs of heat exhaustion, which can lead to a potentially deadly case of heat stroke.
Enjoy your pool if you have one, but be sure to watch children at all times. Have a phone nearby in case of an emergency and never swim when you’re feeling sick or have diarrhea. You’ll find other pool safety tips here.
Independence Day is a great holiday for get-togethers and sharing great food. Some simple precautions will help prevent foodborne illness from spoiling the party. Some examples:
- Wash your hands before preparing or serving food;
- Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood separate from ready-to-eat foods such as salads and fruit to prevent cross-contamination;
- Use a meat thermometer to make sure what you are grilling reaches the proper temperature.
Remember to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold and refrigerate leftovers after 2 hours to reduce the risk of illness.
With increased vaccination against COVID-19, we’ll continue moving back toward normalcy. Part of that is getting back to other public health concerns, such as those in this blog post. If you aren’t already vaccinated, please consider using part of your holiday weekend to do so. You’ll find hundreds of convenient sites offering safe, highly effective, and free vaccines at azdhs.gov/FindVaccine.
Have a safe and happy 4th of July!