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From The Knox County Hospital—
KNOX CITY—The Independence Day holiday is here, and many Americans will be celebrating with fireworks, food, and fun. No matter how residents choose to celebrate the upcoming holiday, officials at Knox County Hospital District encourage everyone to make health and safety a priority.
“Fourth of July is always a festive time for Americans as we celebrate our great nation’s birthday. This joyous time, however, can quickly turn into a disaster if you and your loved ones do not celebrate safely,” explained Stephen Kuehler, CEO of Knox County Hospital District. “It is critical that we all take essential precautions to make the coming holiday weekend safe for the entire family.”
To promote health and safety, Kuehler shares five tips that everyone should keep in mind during the upcoming holiday weekend.
Continue to keep social distancing measures top-of-mind
COVID-19 still poses a threat to all Americans. Until vaccines can be developed, Knox County Hospital District recommends everyone continue to observe social distancing measures throughout the Independence Day holiday and into the foreseeable future.
When in public, try as much as possible to maintain a distance of at least six feet between you and other individuals. Additionally, it is suggested that you continue to avoid large groups or gatherings of more than 10 people.
While many public events continue to be canceled as proactive safety measures to prevent and reduce community spread of the coronavirus, it is important that you keep your holiday get-togethers small – preferably with only people from your own household.
Be safe while outdoors
The sun can pose many dangers for those who participate in outdoor activities. Remember to always stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Resident planning to be highly active, such as participating in sports or other vigorous activities, sports drinks with electrolytes might be a great alternative to water.
Fresh fruits and vegetables that contain high water content, such as strawberries, pineapple, celery, and iceberg lettuce are all great foods to consume outdoors. They are all packed with lots of water that will maintain hydration.
In addition to hydration, using plenty of sunblock outdoors can help protect the skin from sun damage. Typically, sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher is recommended.
For those who are venturing to area beaches, lakes, or even pools, remember always to follow appropriate safety protocols. This includes the use of life jackets if boating and never go swimming alone.
Be mindful of how food is handled outdoors
Leaving food outdoors can bring food-borne illness. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration suggests never leaving food out for more than an hour when outdoor temperatures are above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and more than two hours any other time.
Foods that require refrigeration should be placed in a cooler with plenty of ice and freezing packs to hold a temperature of at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Studies show that the Fourth of July Holiday ranks second next to New Year’s Eve for alcohol-related traffic accidents. Also, statistics indicate a higher prevalence of driving under the influence in rural versus urban areas.
Nationwide, fatality rates of automobile accidents for both teens and adults were twice as high in rural areas.
The best way to ensure that everyone in the community stays safe is to refrain from alcoholic beverages such as wine, beer, and liquor. Those who choose to drink, please do not plan to operate a motor vehicle, such as a car or boat.
Always let the professionals handle fireworks
Fireworks are synonymous with Independence Day, but the thrill and wonder of fireworks can also bring pain and sometimes death if not handled properly.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 36 percent of fireworks injuries are sustained to hands and fingers, followed by 19 percent equally to eyes and heads/faces/ears. More than 50 percent of injuries are burn-related.
Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers. Also, it is recommended that individuals opt to enjoy fireworks shows put on by professionals.
Knox City Clinic will be open regular hours the week leading up to Independence Day. The Munday Clinic will be closed on Friday, July 3. The emergency department at Knox County Hospital will remain open and ready to care for patients.
Kuehler reminds everyone to always to call 911 in the event of an emergency. To learn about local healthcare programs and services or to find a provider, please visit www.knoxhospital.org.