This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Wednesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.
Next Monday, Americans across the country will observe Memorial Day. This day of remembrance gives us all a chance to reflect on the sacrifices made by the men and women of our Nation’s Armed Services, and is often thought of as the “unofficial start of summer.” While temperatures in Western Nevada have not been particularly summery as of late, now is still the time to start thinking about summer safety and preparing for a safe and healthy Memorial Day weekend.
Memorial Day marks the start of the busy summer travel season. Make sure you’re safe on the road by keeping your vehicle in good working order — check your oil and make sure tires are properly inflated before heading out for the long weekend road trip. Make sure you arrive alive by staying alert behind the wheel and looking out for other road users, especially bicyclists and pedestrians. Most importantly, never drink and drive and always wear your seat belt.
If you’re planning a Memorial Day cookout to start the summer, make sure the grill is far enough away from any structure to avoid causing a fire, and never leave a grill unattended. Before you throw the food on the barbecue, guard against cross-contamination by keeping uncooked meats away from other foods. Promptly refrigerate any uneaten food. Make sure kids and pets are kept away from the grill to prevent burns.
Stay hydrated. In our dry climate, sweat evaporates quickly, so it may not seem like you’re sweating as much as you are. Remember, sweating is one of the main ways our body keeps cool, and you may be losing lots of water even if you don’t realize it. Be sure to replenish all that lost fluid by drinking plenty of water, even when it doesn’t feel that hot out.
Even on cool or cloudy days, the Northern Nevada sun still can be strong enough to cause sunburn, so be safe in the sun. Avoid the pain of sunburn and the long-term health consequences of sun exposure, like wrinkles and skin cancer, by putting on sunscreen before you go out and re-applying as needed while working, exercising, or recreating outdoors. You can also protect yourself by wearing a hat, sunglasses and long sleeves.
It doesn’t feel that hot out yet, but the temperature inside a sealed car can climb quickly. Remember to never leave children or pets unattended in a closed-up vehicle, even for a few minutes. A hot car poses a danger to anyone trapped inside. Also, make sure any pets left at home have access to plenty of water during the coming summer days.
Carson City Health and Human Services will be closed Monday, May 30, for observance of the Memorial Day holiday.
For more information about Health Department services, check out our website at www.gethealthycarsoncity.org or “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CCHHS.