Having an outdoor party with family and friends can be fun. With so much to look forward to at summer gatherings—food, drinks, games and more importantly sunshine—there’s also the tendency to get exposed to various health risks too.
Whether you plan on attending a barbecue or hosting one, there are some basic health tips to consider that would help to ensure your next summer part is not only successful, but safe too.
Here are 5 healthy tips to ensure that you’re have a greattime while staying healthy at your next barbecue.
1. Mind what you eat
The best part of an outdoor party for most people is the eating. However, during warmer temperatures, germs in any contaminated food can flourish, warns Hilary K. Whitham, PhD, epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Whitham suggests avoiding any food that contains meat or diary that “looks like it’s been sitting outside for a long time.”
“Perhaps it has dry edges or is lukewarm to touch,” she told Healthline.
Specifically, cold foods should be served cold and should remain below the temperature of 40 degrees, while hot foods should equally be served hot—maintaining a temperature of above 140 degrees. That’s why having a backyard fire pit is important when throwing an outdoor party, to ensure your food stays hot and fresh.
“The area from 40 to 140 degrees is what we refer to as the danger zone. That’s the temperature range when bacteria can grow.”
“If food has been left out prior to cooking, such as a platter of chicken wings for the grill, even if it has been properly cooked and the bacteria has been killed, toxins from those bacteria that were growing when the chicken was left out of the fridge can remain,” said Whitham. “Those toxins can make people sick, so both proper chilling and proper cooking are necessary elements of food safety.”
Whitham suggest using a food thermometer to always ensure the food is safe.
“From my perspective, using a food thermometer provides peace of mind in terms of hosting an event… so I’m not worrying if I undercooked anything,” noted Whitham. “Eating things outside isn’t the primary driver of risk, it’s how it’s been prepared and what temperatures it’s kept at until you’re serving it and eating it.”
2. Wash your hands thoroughly
The regular scene at outdoor parties mostly include people running around, playing games and doing lots of activities that require them to touch objects or people. As a host, it’s very important to wash your hands properly when preparing and serving food, however, partygoers can equally protect themselves by washing their hands thoroughly too.
According to a recent study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, most people do not wash their hands adequately according to CDC’s handwashing guide.
“This includes scrubbing your hands for about 20 seconds, which is about how long it takes to sing the Happy Birthday song. Brushing your nails softly into the opposite palm, rinsing and then drying [them] on a clean towel, not your jeans,” said Whitham.
3. Apply sunscreen
An important requirement before heading out to a barbecue or outdoor party is a sunscreen.
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), it is recommended that sunscreens should be worn every day of the year, however, during instances where lots of time would be spent outdoors, it is especially important to apply it.
4. Avoid getting overheated
“A barbecue is a good place to think about heat exposure in a holistic sense because it’s a really great venue to get heat stroke and get sick,” said Dr. Mark Morocco, professor of emergency medicine at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California.
“You have to be careful because you’re outside, you’re likely to be in the sun, and probably will be eating and drinking things that you’re not used to, including alcohol. All of those things are setups for heat exposure illnesses along the spectrum.”
To determine whether you or another partygoer are experiencing heat exhaustion or heatstroke, Morocco advised paying close attention to behavior.
“The reason it’s called heat stroke is because it affects the brain like a stroke would,” he explained.
“If someone is at a barbecue, whether they’re playing frisbee or sitting in their chair, and all the sudden [he or she] shows signs of brain dysfunction, such as behaving oddly, passing out, having a seizure, having trouble getting up and walking or talking normally, or is vomiting and can’t keep water in, these are clues that something really bad is going on.”
“That’s when you want to get that person out of the sun, cool them down, and get to the hospital where they can get aggressive measures of rehydration and observation.”
The best way to protect oneself from heat-related illnesses is by protecting your body from the sun using sunscreens, drinking enough water and wearing proper attire—hats, sunglasses and loose-fitting clothes have a lot of coverage that can help to keep the body cool.
5. Go easy on the alcohol
It’s near impossible to find a summer party without alcohol, as they often go hand in hand. However, Dr. Robert Brewer, alcohol program lead at the CDC, explains that alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it causes frequent urination.
“People who consume alcohol in hot weather need to be aware that it could cause them to lose fluids, and that in turn could increase their chances of becoming dehydrated and potentially experiencing some other heat-related health problems,” Brewer said.
He also noted that any amount of alcohol consumption can increase risk of injuries and death.
“It’s well recognized that either drinking before or during swimming or boating can substantially increase risk of drowning, injuries, and death. If someone has been drinking even at moderate levels, there will be some increases in relation to injuries, particularly falls,” Brewer said.
Hundreds of Indonesian healthcare workers contract COVID-19 despite vaccination, dozens hospitalised
JAKARTA: More than 350 Indonesian doctors and healthcare workers have contracted COVID-19 despite being vaccinated with Sinovac and dozens have been hospitalised, officials said, as concerns rise about the efficacy of some vaccines against more virulent virus strains.
Most of the doctors were asymptomatic and self-isolating at home, said Badai Ismoyo, head of the Kudus district health office in Central Java, but dozens were in hospital with high fevers and declining oxygen saturation levels.
Kudus is battling an outbreak believed to be driven by the more transmissible Delta variant which has pushed bed occupancy rates above 90 per cent in the district.
Designated as a priority group, Indonesian healthcare workers were among the first to be vaccinated when the inoculation drive started in January.
Almost all have received the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac, according to the Indonesian Medical Association.
While the number of Indonesian healthcare workers dying from COVID-19 has decreased significantly – dropping from 158 deaths this January to 13 this May, according to data initiative group LaporCOVID-19 – public health experts say the Java hospitalisations are cause for concern.
“The data shows they have the Delta variant so it is no surprise that the breakthrough infection is higher than before because as we know the majority of healthcare workers in Indonesia got Sinovac, and we still don’t know yet how effective it is in the real world against the Delta variant,” said Dicky Budiman, an epidemiologist from Australia’s Griffith University.
China’s Covid-19 vaccine flops in Singapore too
New Delhi: In a major setback to Chinas Covid vaccines, Singapore is not counting its citizens who received Sinovac Biotech shots as being vaccinated against Covid-19 due to lack of data to show that the doses are effective against coronavirus, especially the Delta strain.
“We don’t really have a medical or scientific basis or have the data now to establish how effective Sinovac is in terms of infection and severe illnesses on Delta,” local media cited health minister Ong Ye Kung as saying at a press conference on Wednesday.
The decision comes close on the heels of serious doubts arising over Chinese vaccines in Indonesia as those who have received the shots are also contracting Covid-19 and infections are surging in the country.
The Delta variant is currently the dominant strain of Covid-19 in Singapore and was identified in the city state in May. Only people who have received the Moderna and Pfizer shots, are being considered as vaccinated in the official records.
Singapore had allowed some private clinics to offer the Sinovac shot, CoronaVac, from mid-June. Around 17,000 people are reported to have received one dose of CoronaVac.
Local media had also reported Singapore’s director of medical services saying last month that evidence from other countries showed people who had taken CoronaVac were still getting infected.
Most of the vaccines being used by Indonesia have also come from China’s Sinovac Biotech. Some health workers inoculated with Sinovac jabs have been hospitalized due to Covid-19. A few have even died despite being fully immunized, according to a report in Nikkei Asia.
The Indonesian Doctors Association says that of the 14 doctors who died from the virus between February and May, ten had been fully vaccinated with Sinovac, while the rest had been given one dose.
Although there is a serious problem with Chinese vaccines due to inadequate data to show their efficacy, some countries are being forced to opt for them because of the cute shortage of vaccines worldwide amid the devastating pandemic.
102 people qualify for S$451,000 in Covid-19 vaccine injury financial aid to date: Ong Ye Kung
SINGAPORE — The authorities have approved S$451,000 worth of financial aid to people who had suffered serious side effects from Covid-19 vaccines in Singapore, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Tuesday (July 6).
The payments have either been paid out or are being processed to 102 applicants under the Vaccine Injury Financial Assistance Programme (Vifap) introduced by the Government in January.
They were among a total of 292 applicants who had submitted a complete Vifap application as of June 25, Mr Ong said.
Of these, 159 did not meet the eligibility criteria and 31 applications are waiting to be reviewed by an independent clinical panel or pending more medical information from the applicant’s doctor.
Mr Ong was responding in a written answer to a parliamentary question filed by Ms He Ting Ru, Member of Parliament for Sengkang Group Representation Constituency, who had asked about the applications made and payments approved under the programme.
TODAY has asked the Ministry of Health (MOH) for details of these approved payouts.
Vifap provides three tiers of support to people assessed to be adversely affected by their Covid-19 inoculation.
The first is a one-time payout of S$2,000 for patients who need hospitalisation and medical intervention and who later recover.
The second is a payout of up to S$10,000 that will be given to those who were hospitalised and required care in a high dependency or intensive care unit, but later recover from the side effects caused by the vaccine.
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