For many families, picnics and backyard barbecues top the list for planned activities on Memorial Day weekend. While enjoying your outdoor festivities here are some tips:
Practice safe grilling habits by keeping charcoal lighter fluid out of young children's reach, as swallowing lighter fluid can lead to serious poisoning for toddlers. When finished using lighter fluid, immediately return it to a storage space that is up high, out of sight and out of reach – preferably in a locked cabinet. If a child swallows lighter fluid, immediately wipe off any fluid on the exposed skin. Do not make the child vomit. Ipecac syrup should never be used for this type of poisoning emergency. Immediately call the Poison Control Center. Charcoal lighter fluid can cause serious or potentially life-threatening chemical pneumonia. The substance can enter the lungs when the child tries to swallow or vomit. If an adult or child has difficulty breathing after swallowing any poison, especially charcoal lighter fluid, call 911 immediately.
While picnicking, keep such perishable foods as ham, potato or macaroni salad, hamburgers, hot dogs, lunch meat, cooked beef or chicken, deviled eggs, and custard or cream pies in an ice chest. Put leftovers back in the ice chest as soon as you finish eating. When possible, store the ice chest in the passenger area of the car during the trip, as it stays cooler than when in the trunk.
When hiking or camping, be aware of your surroundings; many areas have poisonous snakes and spiders. Most snake bites occur when people handle snakes or when they stick their hands down holes or under logs and unknowingly touch a snake.
If you are in an isolated area when bitten by a snake, proceed slowly to a vehicle. Moving slowly will keep the heart rate low and help prevent the venom from spreading. Drive to the nearest hospital. If you are alone and unable to drive, call 911 or have someone else call 911 and let that person drive you to the hospital. If bitten by a spider, call the Poison Control Center right away.
Using insect repellents can help deal with such uninvited guests as mosquitoes and ticks. However, it is very important to follow the label's directions. Repellents containing a 10 to 30 percent concentration of DEET are safe for use on children 3 months of age and older. Spray the repellent on your hands and then apply it to the exposed areas on your child. Be careful not to apply the repellent around the eyes or mouth.
For bee stings, remove the bee's stinger by scraping it out with the edge of a plastic card or blunt instrument. Do not squeeze the stung area; it can cause the stinger to release more venom. Wash the area with soap and water. Immediately apply ice wrapped in a cloth for 10 to 15 minutes. Remember that ice applied directly to skin can cause damage to sensitive tissue. If a person is having difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, wheezing, swelling or itching eyes, or other symptoms of an allergic reaction, call 911 immediately.
If taking pets, also be aware of added stress on animals on busy and holiday types of weekends. See: Holiday Weekend Pet Safety.
Have a safe Memorial Day Weekend and safe summer season!!~