How to Stay Safe on the Fourth of July

The July 4th weekend is almost here, and that means a fun, extended weekend for many Americans. But as you gather around the picnic table, campfire or fireworks display for loads of fun and merriment, it’s important to understand the risks and importance of Fourth of July safety as well.

The approaching holiday often includes excessive drinking and fireworks. Mid-summer heat can quickly lead to heat-related illnesses as well. According to Pew Research Center, more Americans visit the emergency room on July 4th and 5th than any other days of the year, making it one of the most dangerous weekends of the year.

Fourth of July safety tips

Stay safe this holiday weekend with these tips:

  • Watch professional fireworks
    If not handled properly, fireworks can cause burns as well as hand and eye injuries in both kids and adults. In fact, something as simple as a sparkler can cause third-degree burns. The best way to protect your family and friends is to not use any fireworks at home.
  • Drink plenty of water
    The best thing you can do for your body is to keep it cool during hot summer days and outdoor events. Wear a hat, loose clothing, sunscreen and sunglasses to help keep your body temperature from rising too much. Drink plenty of water and eat foods that are water-rich like watermelon, cucumbers and peaches.
  • Avoid foods that spoil easily in the heat
    If you arrive late to a picnic or barbeque, it can be difficult to know how long the food has been left unrefrigerated. Play it safe and avoid anything that could contain dairy, mayonnaise, fresh fruits and vegetables, seafood and fried chicken. And when in doubt, skip it.
  • Practice practical safety
    First and foremost, stay home if you are feeling unwell or have a fever or symptoms of COVID-19. Before heading out for your weekend of fun, it’s important to be prepared, so you’ll want to ask yourself a few questions:

    • Do I need a designated driver? If so, who will it be?
    • Do I need any safety equipment (e.g., a life vest)?
    • Did I remember my water bottle and sunscreen?
    • Do I have a first aid kit with band aids, antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointment, gauze and scissors?
    • Do I know where to go in case of emergency?

Common Fourth of July injuries

For many families across the United States, the Fourth of July is a time for enjoying friends, family, barbeques and fireworks. But along with all that fun can come plenty of opportunities for getting hurt. Here are five common Fourth of July injuries:

  • Hand and face injuries
    Sparklers may look beautiful, but they can still cause serious burns to the skin. If you or your children are planning to use sparklers this Fourth of July holiday, keep a bucket full of water nearby, keep your arms fully extended away from your face and body when using them and only light them in wide open spaces (and far away from anything flammable).
  • Dehydration or heat stroke
    Fourth of July safety includes keeping track of your water intake and ensuring you stay hydrated and cool. Drink plenty of water and take lots of breaks in the shade or indoors to avoid dehydration or stroke. Symptoms of heatstroke include fast heartbeat, rapid breathing, dizziness, confusion, headache, nausea or fainting. Call 911 if the person becomes unconscious.
  • Food poisoning
    Heat causes bacteria to multiply faster, so avoid undercooked meats and perishables that have been left unrefrigerated for more than an hour. Symptoms of food poisoning include nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea and can begin as soon as 30 minutes after exposure.
  • Car accidents
    July 4th is one of the most dangerous driving days of the year according to the National Safety Council. To make sure you get to and from your events safely, prepare your car before you go (e.g., check oil, tire pressure, etc.), drive the speed limit, avoid distractions (e.g., cell phones), buckle up and designate a sober driver or arrange alternate transportation if you plan to drink alcohol.
  • Boating accidents
    Many people take to the water on holiday weekends, so there is more potential for injury. Keep yourself and your loved ones safe by inspecting all floatation devices on board. Make sure you have an experienced driver and captain who follows all rules of navigation and speed limits.

If you’ve been seriously injured and in need of urgent medical treatment, visit your local Pomona Valley Health Center urgent care or call 909-378-9512 right away.

We offer well-equipped urgent care centers in Claremont, Chino Hills and LaVerne. We are open Monday – Friday from 8 a.m – 8 p.m. and 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on weekends and most holidays. Our hours for the 4th and 5th of July are 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Three Easy Ways to Stop Eating Sugar

Eating too much sugar can not only cause weight gain, but it can also affect the elasticity of your skin, which can lead to premature wrinkles. Too much sugar can damage elastin and collagen molecules in the skin, which can lead to dark circles, wrinkles, dehydrated skin and can fast-track the aging process. But that’s not all. Overconsumption of sugar can lead to a host of more serious health conditions like high blood pressure, inflammation, diabetes, heart disease and fatty liver disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average daily intake of sugars in 2018 was 17 teaspoons for children and adults (ages 2 and up). For comparison, the American Heart Association suggests an added-sugar limit of no more than 100 calories per day (about 6 teaspoons) for most women and no more than 150 calories per day (about 9 teaspoons) for most men.

As you can see, most children and adults in America are consuming more than double the suggested amount of sugar each day.

Seven health risks of too much sugar

Here are seven health risks of eating too much sugar:

  1. Weight gain
    Rates of obesity are on the rise across the globe, and added sugar, especially from sugar-sweetened beverages, is thought to be one of the main culprits. Moreover, overconsumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is linked to an increased amount of visceral fat in the abdomen, which is a type of fat associated with conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
  2. Heart disease
    High-sugar diets can lead to obesity, inflammation and high triglyceride, blood sugar and blood pressure levels, which are all risk factors for heart disease. Heart disease is a collection of diseases and conditions that cause cardiovascular problems like diseased vessels, structural problems and blood clots.
  3. Acne
    Sugary foods can quickly spike blood sugar and insulin levels, which leads to increased androgen secretion, oil production and inflammation. All of these side effects can contribute to acne development.
  4. Type 2 diabetes
    Prolonged high-sugar consumption contributes to resistance to insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas that regulates blood sugar levels. Insulin resistance causes blood sugar levels to rise and strongly increases your risk of diabetes.
  5. Cancer
    A diet rich in sugary foods and beverages can lead to obesity, which significantly increases your risk of cancer. It can also lead to inflammation in your body, which can lead to insulin resistance, both of which can increase your risk of cancer.
  6. Depression
    Overconsumption of processed foods, like cakes and sugary drinks, has been associated with a higher risk of depression. Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest and can interfere with your daily functioning.
  7. Fatty liver disease
    In the liver, fructose (sugar) is converted into energy or stored as glycogen. However, the liver can only store so much glycogen before excess amounts are turned into fat. This can lead to fatty liver disease.

How to eat less sugar

Here are three easy ways to stop eating sugar:

  1. Eat fresh fruit
    Fresh fruits are better for you than canned fruits because the processing removes all of the nutrients. Canning fruit in high fructose corn syrup coats pieces of fruit with lots of added sugar. For example, one-half cup of canned pears contains as many as 12 grams of high fructose corn syrup, whereas one-half cup of freshly sliced pears contains about 7 grams of natural sugars. Natural sources of sugar are digested slower and help you feel full for a longer time. It also helps keep your metabolism stable.
  2. Opt for diet or non-soda carbonated beverages
    The healthiest beverage is, of course, water, but if you would like a better alternative to regular soda, opt for a diet option or non-soda carbonated beverage instead. Regular soda is generally a mixture of carbonated water and sweeteners, like high fructose corn syrup or sucrose, phosphoric acid and caffeine. One 12-ounce can of regular soda contains 10-11 teaspoons of sugar. Diet soda contains similar ingredients but uses sugar substitutes like aspartame, acesulfame, potassium, sucralose and stevia.
  3. Watch serving sizes
    Knowing the correct portion or serving sizes can help limit your daily intake of sugar. Serving sizes have become distorted from actual portions, especially at restaurants. One way to avoid overeating is to ask for a to-go container right away and store half before you begin eating. If you have type 1 diabetes, the reason portions are so important is your insulin dose is based on what you eat. If you have type 2 diabetes, overdoing it on portions can directly affect your blood sugar.

Sugar can lead to a number of serious health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and high blood pressure. For these reasons and more, added sugar should be kept at a minimum whenever possible, which is easier when you eat a healthy diet based on whole foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains.

Delicious snacks that are naturally low in sugar

Choosing healthy snacks can be tricky, especially if you’re constantly on the go. Here are some delicious snack options that are good for you and naturally low in sugar:

  • Carrots with ranch dip
  • Vegetables with hummus dip
  • Pepper jack cheese sticks
  • Grapefruit
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Berries with cottage cheese
  • Granny smith apple with peanut butter
  • Roasted and salted pistachios
  • Dry roasted and salted pumpkin seeds
  • Dried fruits and nuts trail mix

If you’d like to learn more about the types of lifestyle changes you can make to improve your overall health or need ongoing care for chronic conditions, call Pomona Valley Health Centers at 909-378-9173 and schedule an appointment.