May 26, 2016
Jennifer Miller, 608-266-1683

Spring Into A Healthy And Safe Summer

Health Department Offers Tips for Memorial Day Weekend and Beyond

Memorial Day weekend is considered the unofficial start of summer, and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) hopes you take advantage of all the fun activities the state has to offer this season. To ensure that your summer is healthy and safe, DHS offers these tips:

Food Safety: Firing up the grill and eating outdoors is part of the ritual of summer in Wisconsin. Residents must be aware that food being served at summer picnics will quickly warm to unsafe temperatures, leading to growth of bacteria that causes food poisoning. To prevent foodborne illness, be sure to:

  • Wash hands, utensils, and surfaces with hot soapy water before and after food preparation.
  • Keep raw meat, poultry, eggs, and seafood and their juices away from prepared foods. 
  • Cook meats to the proper internal temperature
  • Refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared food, and leftovers within two hours.

Watch your alcohol use: Deaths, injuries, and property damage from drinking alcohol are preventable. If you are over 21 and drink alcohol, consider the health and safety consequences, and drink in moderation.  Alcohol can take a human toll and a financial toll.  A first time Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) (PDF, 790 KB) offense can cost anywhere from $1650 to $8650.

Avoid bug bites: Summer means enjoying Wisconsin’s great outdoors, but the outdoors also means ticks and mosquitoes that can cause illnesses.  Follow these tips to avoid bug bites: 

  • Use a repellent against biting insects and ticks. Apply sparingly to exposed skin or clothing.
  • Where long pants and shirts with long sleeves.
  • Do a tick check when you return indoors, then shower to get rid of ticks that haven’t attached that you might have missed.  
  • Remove ticks carefully. Clean the bite area and your hands after the tick is removed.
  • Call a medical professional if you develop a fever or rash from a tick bite.

Swimming: Swimming is a fun way to get your exercise, and whether you’re taking a dip in a pool or one of Wisconsin’s abundant rivers, ponds, or lakes, these tips will help you enjoy the water safely:

  • Be sure to supervise children whenever they to swimming.
  • Practice good hygiene. Shower before swimming and wash your hands, especially after using the toilet or changing diapers. Germs on your body end up in the water.
  • Don’t swallow the water you swim in.
  • Don’t swim if you have diarrhea, since germs can spread in the water and make people sick. 
  • Change diapers in a bathroom, not poolside.

Swimmers should also avoid water with harmful blue-green algae. When in doubt, stay out of water that has blue-green algae, and keep pets out too. 

Boating: Wisconsin’s waterways are a gift to canoers, kayakers, sailors, and other boating enthusiasts.  Keep boating fun and safe by always using a life jacket that fits properly. Note that the law requires that recreational boats must carry U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets for each person on board.

With these practical health and safety tips, the summer of 2016 can be enjoyable for all.