Health Watch -- End of Summer

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

End your summer on a safe note.

Although the calendar says summer doesn't end until later in September, we generally think of Labor Day weekend as the end of summer fun. Then it's back to school and back to the usual routine. Doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas have some advice for making your Labor Day weekend a safe one.

If you're around water, keep an eye on children. A sober adult should be specifically designated to watch children playing in the pool, lake or ocean. That way all the adults know who's responsible and don't assume that someone else is watching the children. If a child at your gathering goes missing, check the water first. That may buy you valuable time for rescuing and reviving a child. Make sure you have a working cell phone handy in case of emergencies.

Alcohol and water don't mix, so don't swim or operate a boat or jet ski if you've been drinking.

A backyard barbecue is a popular Labor Day tradition. When cooking out, keep foods chilled until ready to cook or serve. Keep raw meat separate from other foods, and use a meat thermometer to cook meat to a safe internal temperature. Don't leave foods out in the heat too long. Use coolers to keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot.

West Nile virus is still a threat, so if you're going to be outdoors, especially near dawn or dusk, use an insect repellent containing DEET.

It's still hot in many parts of the country, so if you're out in the heat, be sure to drink plenty of water. Drink even more if you're active and sweating a lot.

Now that you know how to have a safe weekend, have a fun weekend.


Aug. 2004

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