Have a Happy and Safe 4th!

4th of July celebrations are always a grand time. The weather's hot, the water's cool, the food is great, and the company is even better. However, when you're out and celebrating and having fun, it can be easy to forget to protect yourself from dangers of dehydration, sun damage, and injury. Here are some tips to help ensure a good and safe time at the barbeque.

Use Sunscreen

Nothing is worse than having the itchy burning feeling of a sunburn and not being able to go out in the sun because of it. Before you get too caught up in the competitive family sporting events, make sure to apply sunscreen well before you are exposed to intense sunlight. Depending on how long you are in the sun for, you will need to reapply more throughout the day. Try to get some shade periodically so that the sun's rays aren't constantly beating down on you.

Drink Water...Constantly

Amongst the family kickball games, savory barbeque foods, sweet desserts, and hot weather, the necessity for water has never been more important. Chances are that if you are feeling thirsty, your body is already dehydrated. Stay ahead of the process and make sure you are drinking water constantly (or eating some delicious watermelon). Additionally, try to monitor the amount of sugary or alcoholic beverages that you drink; you should be drinking that much more water for every soda or beer you have.

Store Your Food Properly

Leaving food out for long periods of time already increases the risk of bacteria growth, but having it left out in 90+ degree weather is even worse. When you set up your barbeque, try to keep your food in a shaded area with covers over each dish until they are ready to be eaten. Additionally, for foods like potato salad, raw meat, and other things that spoil easily, keep them on ice for as long as possible until they are ready to be served.

Protect Your Feet and Legs

Whether you're running around playing with the dog, getting into an intense flag football game, or playing around on the beach, you will be on your feet a lot. Make sure you take breaks and be careful when walking around barefoot; stepping on glass or spraining your ankle is never fun. If your legs get tired and achy really easily, try wearing some compression socks. As uncomfortable as knee high socks in warm weather sounds, there are now much more appealing styles that are breathable and comfortable to wear, even during exercise.

In a season of fun, relaxation, and enjoyment, the last thing you will want is to be slowed down by an injury, sickness, or sunburn. Make sure you take the preventative measures to protect yourself and you will be able to enjoy summer in all its glory. Now what are you waiting for? Go out and enjoy yourself! (But only after you've done these things!)