Between the sun, the water, the bugs, and fresh food, there are many ways the Fourth of July can get on your bad side. Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, says regardless of the temperature, the sun's rays can be dangerous – sunscreen and a hat are recommended. “Make sure that everyone stays hydrated,” he says. “The second thing is just to take breaks.”
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Shah says keeping everything as clean as possible, and washing your hands frequently, go along with the food-safety mantra of “keep hot food hot and cold food cold.” Insect repellent, long sleeves, and pants – preferably tucked into heavy socks – are musts for avoiding mosquitoes and ticks when going into the woods. Shah also says to keep an eye on children who are in the water; they are unlikely to scream and flail about as they do in the movies if they are at risk of drowning.