Summer Safety Tips

As you venture outdoors this summer, Temecula Valley Hospital encourages you to take the necessary precautions to protect against the summer's common health and safety risks. Such risks include foodborne diseases, heat-induced illnesses and water-related injuries and death.

Food Safety

Summer barbecues and picnics are meant to be enjoyed with family and friends, but food-related illnesses can quickly bring an end to your fun. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), an estimated 48 million people get sick from a food-related disease each year. Approximately 128,000 of those cases require hospitalization, and 3,000 result in death.

To protect against foodborne illnesses, the CDC recommends the following:

  • Use a meat thermometer to ensure grilled meats are cooked thoroughly. For example, hamburgers should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit; chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Avoid cross-contamination of food. After handling raw meats, thoroughly wash your hands and any utensils and cutting boards used before handling other foods.
  • Promptly refrigerate leftover foods. Bacteria grows quickly at room temperature. Never leave food sitting out for longer than two hours; one hour in temperatures 90 degrees and above.
  • Thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables before eating them. For heads of lettuce and cabbage, remove and discard the outer layers.

Sun and Heat Safety

Hundreds of people die from heat-induced illnesses every year, with the majority occurring during the hot summer months, according to the CDC. Those who are at the highest risk are children, the elderly, and individuals with chronic health conditions. Excessive exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays can also increase the risk of various forms of skin cancer. According to the CDC, over a million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year.

When working or playing outside this summer, follow these preventative measures:

  • Wear protective clothing, including a hat with a wide, shady brim.
  • Apply sunscreen and lip balm with SPF 15 or higher. Reapply frequently throughout the day.
  • Drink plenty of water and other non-alcoholic beverages. Avoid alcohol, as this has a dehydrating effect.
  • Never leave children or pets unattended in a vehicle.
  • Avoid performing strenuous activities during extreme temperatures when possible.

Water Safety

Swimming and water skiing is a great way to stay cool and remain active. But where there is water, there are risks. Every year thousands of people drown, and thousands more are injured or killed as a result of boating accidents, according to the CDC.

Important safety precautions that can help keep you and your loved ones safe during your summer water activities include:

  • Never swim alone. Teach your children the importance of having a swimming buddy.
  • Children and adults who do not know how to swim should be equipped with life vests.
  • To avoid disease, do not swallow pool or ocean water, and avoid getting it into your mouth.
  • Do not drink alcohol before or while swimming, boating, water skiing, etc.
  • Never leave children unattended, and never rely on lifeguards to supervise your children. According to the National Safety Council, more than one in five drowning victims are children aged 14 and younger.

For more information on how to stay safe and healthy this summer, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website and read CDC's Summer Safety Tips.