Wednesday, 29th June 2011
At this time of year, the days are long, the sun will be shining, and holiday time is approaching. From Saturday afternoon barbeques at home, to basking on a sandy beach, adults and kids alike will definitely be making the most of it. The HSE's Public Health Department in the South East would like to draw your attention to a number of tips which should help make this a healthy, safe and enjoyable summer. The tips emphasised by the HSE are:
Al Fresco Dining, Remember Food Safety
Enjoying a barbeque on a balmy evening is one of life's little pleasures - but a few important things to remember:
- Germs on food can multiply quickly in the heat. Cold food (e.g. salads) should be kept in a cold-box or cooler right up until they're served, hot food should be served hot, not warm.
- Don't store cooked food and raw food in close contact, and use a separate chopping board for each.
- Cook all meats thoroughly. Juices should run clear when food is properly cooked.
- For those serving food, wash hands before cooking the food, before serving it, and anytime after handling raw meat. Children's' hand washing should be supervised.
- Store leftovers away in the cooler as soon as you finish eating. Ideally eat them later that day or at the latest the following day.
- Never leave a barbeque unattended.
Hopefully your holiday abroad will be trouble free and you won't require the services of a doctor or hospital. On the other hand it pays to be prepared for any eventuality.
Before you leave:
If visiting an E.U. or EEA country, obtain your European Health Insurance Card, applications can be made in your local Health Office or online at http://www.ehic.ie. This entitles you to healthcare through the public system in countries of the EU, EEA or Switzerland. If visiting a non-EU country, make sure you have adequate medical insurance.
Have a dental check up if you will be away for more than a short period.
Get your doctors advice if you have any illness prior to travel and bring adequate supplies of prescription drugs.
Vaccinations before you go:
Most Irish people know that vaccinations are recommended before visiting certain destinations. However, less than a quarter of those travelling to countries at risk avail of the precautions. Be sure to contact your GP at least three months before departure. He/she will advise you on the necessary vaccinations.
Be Sun Smart
We all love a "healthy glow" and sure, the sun has many benefits. Unfortunately, tanning is not one of them! Tanned skin is damaged skin. The suns rays lead to premature skin ageing and can cause skin cancer, which is the commonest form of cancer in Ireland today affecting more than 5,500 Irish people each year. The Irish Cancer Society, in their Sun Smart Code, advises:
- Wear T-shirts with a close weave, sleeves and high collars and long shorts.
- Wear a wide brimmed hat to protect your ears, nose and the back of your neck; wear wrap-around sunglasses with UV protection
- Apply a sun-cream of at least factor 15 and UVA protection, thirty minutes before going into the sun. Reapply liberally at least every two hours or immediately after swimming. The mistake many of us make is placing too much confidence in sunscreens, and using too little, too infrequently. Sunscreen must be used as part of a wider sun-protection strategy.
- Keep babies out of the sun as much as possible.
Seek the shade, especially between the hours of 11am and 3pm. Do not use sun-beds or sun-lamps. If you really can't survive the summer without a tan, fake it! There are some great products out there.
Safety in the Garden
Gardens can be a source of wonderful relaxation, exercise and pleasure, especially in the summer months. There is the potential for accidents however, most of which can be easily avoided.
The lawnmower tops the "danger" list. Keep children away! Before mowing the lawn, remove any stones, toys, or loose debris that could become flying projectiles. Always wear sturdy footwear that doesn't leave toes exposed. Make sure the power is off before attempting to unclog the mower.
Beware of trip hazards such as loose paving slabs, or flowerpots. These are a common cause of accidents resulting in an A&E attendance. Empty the paddling pool after children finish playing in them. Young children should be supervised at all times. Lock away garden chemicals such as insecticides and weed-killers.
On average, 150 people are drowned in Ireland each year, many of whom are children. Most of these tragic deaths happen inland, in rivers and lakes, on farms and in and around homes. Understanding water safety is vital for both children and adults alike.
- Never swim alone or within one hour of eating.
- Children should always be supervised around water.
Enrolling children in Irish Water Safety courses will teach them to act safely and responsibly. (For details log onto http://www.iws.ie) Always wear a personal flotation device when you are in, on or around water. Be aware that inflatable toys can be dangerous. Ensure that toys carry the ‘CE mark' and that the manufacturer's recommendations regarding appropriate use of the toy are clearly marked. If in doubt don't buy.
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