DHHS offers safety tips for summer fun

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Grilling cook out bbq generic(WILX)
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 11:31 AM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN) - With summer just around the corner, the Department of Health and Human Services is providing tips for staying safe near water or the grill.

Dr. Susan Kansagra, the NCDHHS Director of Public Health, said that drowning deaths are the leading death for young kids, and offered the following guidelines while at the beach or pool:

  • Put down your phones: Monitor children at all times around pools and any body of water. Unlike the flailing depicted on television, a drowning child is more likely to slip silently underwater, which can be barely noticeable until it is too late.
  • Keep pools secure: Close and lock or latch gates or doors every time they are not being used. Never prop a gate or door open and do not remove or lock ladders when aboveground pools are not in use.
  • Know the water conditions: Be aware of potential hazards such as strong currents, undertows or sudden changes in water depth.
  • Stay out of the water if you are sick with diarrhea.

Kansagra also offered the following guidelines for preventing food-borne illnesses while grilling:

  • Practice hand hygiene: Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw food or using the grill.
  • Separate raw and cooked food: Keep raw meats, poultry and seafood separate from cooked foods and ready-to-eat items to prevent the spread of bacteria.
  • Cook food thoroughly: Use a food thermometer to ensure meats are cooked to the appropriate internal temperature, eliminating any harmful bacteria present.
  • Store leftovers properly: Refrigerate or freeze leftover food promptly to prevent bacterial growth. Consume or discard leftovers within three to four days.
  • Clean and sanitize: Thoroughly clean grill surfaces and utensils before and after each use to prevent cross-contamination and the growth of harmful bacteria.

“We want everyone in North Carolina to have a safe and healthy summer,” Dr. Kansagra said. “By following these guidelines for safe swimming and grilling, we can reduce the risk of accidents, illnesses and foodborne infections.”