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Protect your health over the holiday weekend

For immediate release: July 2, 2021 (21-162)

Contact: DOH Communications

OLYMPIA – As you celebrate the Fourth of July this weekend, protect your health and the health of everyone around you by taking precautions against common health hazards. Washington State Department of Health (DOH) is providing tips for staying safe from COVID-19, foodborne illness, heat, insect bites, wildfire risk, fireworks injuries and open water dangers.

While we are Washington Ready to enjoy reopening, people who are not vaccinated still face serious risk from COVID-19. If you aren’t fully vaccinated yet, protect yourself and the people around you by wearing masks when indoors in public places, taking gatherings outside and keeping your distance from anyone who doesn’t live with you. If you are fully vaccinated, you don’t need to wear a mask in most settings, but counties and businesses can have more protective requirements. Make sure you know the state requirements, check local requirements if you travel somewhere and follow the rules of the room.

If your weekend plans include a BBQ or picnic, protect your family and friends from foodborne illnesses by following a few simple food safety tips. Remember to wash your hands with soap before cooking or serving, and wash work surfaces, utensils and the grill before cooking.

Beat the heat and avoid serious health problems by drinking plenty of fluids and staying in air-conditioned spaces when possible. Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing, and don’t forget to put on SPF 15 or higher sunblock.

Protect yourself from mosquito bites by using an EPA-registered insect repellent. Wear long sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors, and limit time outside from dusk to dawn when mosquitos are most active. Before traveling, learn about the risks of mosquito-borne disease at your destination.

Before lighting any outdoor fires or fireworks, check for restrictions or warnings in your area. High temperatures and dry conditions increase wildfire risk.

Prevent fireworks injuries by watching fireworks displays from a safe distance. Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities and do not allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks. Call 911 immediately if someone is injured. To help reduce impact to hospital emergency departments during this busy holiday weekend, consider visiting an urgent care clinic instead if you need medical attention for a non-serious injury or illness.

Follow water safety tips if you go swimming or boating. Remember that swimming in open water is very different from swimming in a pool and make sure to wear a life jacket that fits you.

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