Have a Fun and Safe Independence Day and Summer

Another 4th of July is right around the corner, and that means swimming, barbecues, and best of all, fireworks!  By making smart and healthy choices, you can ensure you’ll have a fun (and safe!) holiday and summer.

Sun Protection

If you’re planning on being outside all day, make sure you put on sunscreen!  Even if it’s an overcast day, up to 80% of the sun’s UV rays (the ones that cause sunburn and other problems) can still make through.  Experts recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 15 or higher.  Here are some more tips about sunscreen from the FDA.

Hydration

If you’re attending a barbecue, chances are you’ll be enjoying a “cold, frosty one,” as Mike Shannon would say.  However, it’s important to be aware of the dehydration risk that comes with combining alcohol and the heat.  A good rule of thumb is to have a glass of water for every alcoholic beverage.  If you’re going to be outside in the heat, having more water than alcohol can keep your body hydrated and able to cool itself off.

Food

Being to a barbecue doesn’t mean you have to load up on unhealthy snacks like potato chips and dessert.  By making a few substitutions, you can make your barbecue tasty AND healthy.  For example, substituting chips with a veggie tray will help fill you up will the right kind of nutrients.  Substituting dessert with fresh fruit is another way to satisfy your sweet tooth, while saving on calories.

Fireworks

Every year, there are news stories reporting an accident while handling fireworks.  On average, 200 people go to the emergency room every day around the 4th of July.  By being smart when you shoot off fireworks, you can help reduce this number.  First, always have an adult handle the fireworks.  Having a bucket of water or hose nearby is important to prevent stray sparks from catching fire.  The United States CPSC has more tips on how to stay safe while shooting fireworks.

If shooting fireworks yourself isn’t your thing, here’s a list of municipalities in the St. Louis area with firework displays.

Have a safe and happy 4th everyone!

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