Tips for Staying Safe and Healthy in the Warmer Months
As we adjust to our new normal in terms of the COVID-19 pandemic, physical activity continues to be important for our physical and emotional health. Biking, hiking, golf and gardening are activities that we can enjoy while still practicing social distancing. Get outside and do what you enjoy, but take precautions where necessary.
Plan Ahead for Extreme Heat
Excessive heat is the leading cause of preventable, weather-related deaths each year, particularly among the elderly. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heat causes more than 600 preventable deaths in the United States yearly.
The following people are most at risk:
- Elderly persons and small children are mostly affected
- Persons who are overweight/obese
- Persons on certain medications or drugs
Know the Signs of Heat Related Illness
Prolonged exposure to the heat can be harmful and potentially fatal. Call 911 if you or someone you know shows signs or symptoms of heat illness, including:
- Light headedness
- Muscle cramps
Be Prepared: During a heat wave, try to stay cool, stay hydrated and stay informed.
- Avoid strenuous activity and exercise, especially during the sun's peak hours of 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Exercise and activity should be done in the early morning between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m.
- Drink plenty of water and non-caffeinated beverages.
- Stay out of the sun and try to cool off in an air-conditioned building for a few hours during the hottest part of the day. The sun heats the inner core of your body, resulting in dehydration. If air conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor, out of the sunshine, or go to a public building with air conditioning
- If you must go outdoors, wear sunscreen with a high sun protector factor rating, at least SPF 15 and a hat to protect your face and head. When outdoors, wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing. Cover as much skin as possible to avoid sunburn and over-warming effects of sunlight on your body.
- Do not leave children, pets or those who require special care in a parked car or vehicle during periods of intense summer heat. Temperatures inside a closed vehicle can reach over 140 degrees Fahrenheit quickly. Exposure to such high temperatures can kill within a matter of minute.
- Make an effort to check on your family and neighbors during a heat wave, especially if they are elderly, have young children or have special needs. Make sure there is enough food and water for pets
- Stay updated on local weather forecasts so you can plan activities safely when it is hot outside.
- For more information, visit the CDC Extreme Heat.
Be Pool Smart
To learn about the signs of drowning, tips to prevent drowning, where to go to learn CPR and more, check out our “Be Pool Smart” brochures. Help us prevent drowning injuries and deaths by printing and sharing these tips with your community.
Practice Sun Safety
According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most common of all types of cancer; it outnumbers all other cancers combined. On any day, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes. Protect yourself and your family from the sun’s harmful rays. Remember, tanned skin is damaged skin. To learn more about skin cancer, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/
Prevent Tick-Borne Illnesses
Ticks can transmit Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis and other illnesses. Did you know that a tick must stay on the body for 36 hours to transmit Lyme disease? Check yourself and your children and pets for ticks every day, especially if you have been spending time in grassy or wooded areas. Help us spread the word about personal protection by sharing this pamphlet with your community. To learn more about the kinds of ticks found in Suffolk County, the disease they can cause, how to avoid tick bites, and resources in Suffolk County, visit Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases in Suffolk County
Prevent Mosquito-Borne Illnesses
As the birds and bees start to come out again, so do mosquitoes. Some varieties of mosquito (such as the Culex pipiens-restuans or Northern House Mosquito) can cause West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Take practical precautions to reduce the numbers of mosquitoes breeding around your home. Let’s work together to protect our communities; share information with your neighbors by printing and distributing:
To learn more about the Suffolk County health department’s mosquito surveillance program, check out these videos:
Protect Your Family and Pets from Rabies
Rabies is most often seen among wild animals such as raccoons, bats, skunks and foxes, but any mammal can be infected with rabies virus, which is invariably fatal. Pets and livestock can get rabies if they are not vaccinated to protect them against infection.
- Residents of all towns are asked to call the Information Line number -- 631-787-2200 -- to report raccoons that come into contact with humans or pets.
- Suffolk County has increased surveillance of raccoons in the Towns of Huntington and Babylon and the Sound Beach area in the Town of Brookhaven. Residents of those towns are asked to report:
- raccoons that come into contact with humans or pets
- raccoons that are acting abnormally
- raccoons that are dead for reasons other than motor-vehicle crash
- If you have been exposed to a bat, follow CDC guidelines to have the bat captured and tested. Call the Suffolk County Rabies Information Line -- 631-787-2200.
- Residents with general questions about rabies may visit: http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/rabies/fact_sheet.htm OR https://www.cdc.gov/rabies/
See! Be Seen! Pedestrian Safety
Did you know? According to New York State Department of Transportation, Suffolk County ranked third among New York counties with a reported 2,340 pedestrian crashes. To be safe when walking, know the meaning of pedestrian signals, make yourself visible to drivers, avoid dangerous behaviors, and look before you step. Drivers should watch for pedestrians at all times, yield to pedestrians at crossings, observe speed limits and avoid aggressive maneuvers. To learn more, visit New York State Pedestrian Safety.
Be Food Safe
Did you know that it is not safe to eat a hamburger unless it is cooked to a temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit? The U.S. Department of Agriculture reminds consumers to avoid foodborne illness by following four easy steps. Learn more here: