SALEM, Ore. - As summer kicks off Friday, the Oregon Health Authority is recommending people in Oregon take steps to keep the season from becoming a “bummer” with tips for staying healthy and safe.
OHA is launching a digital media campaign using the hashtag #SummerBummer to feature recommendations to prevent injuries and illnesses often associated with the season’s warm temperatures, including cyanobacterial (harmful algal) blooms, fecal bacteria at beaches, drownings, food- and insect-borne diseases, wildfire smoke and extreme heat.
The goal of the campaign, set to run from June 21 to Sept. 21, is to leverage social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to encourage people to sign up for recreational advisories at the OHA recreational advisories website. The campaign will offer Oregonians a one-stop shop for warm-weather safety tips, including these topics:
- Drowning prevention — Avoid alcohol when swimming or boating, and make sure young swimmers wear life jackets. Don't swim alone or in bad weather, and always supervise children in and near the water. Visit the Safe Kids websites on pool safety at https://www.safekids.org/poolsafety and boating safety at https://www.safekids.org/safetytips/field_risks/boating.
- Wildfire smoke — Watch air quality reports, such as the Oregon Smoke Blog at http://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com/. Limit exposure to smoke by reducing time spent outdoors or engaging in rigorous outdoor activity, and stay in a tightly closed, air-conditioned house or one with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, if available. Stay hydrated. If you have heart or lung disease, follow your health care provider’s advice for precautions. Visit http://healthoregon.org/wildfires for more.
- Mosquito-borne diseases (West Nile virus, Zika) — Eliminate sources of standing water where mosquitoes breed, such as watering troughs and bird baths. Protect yourself during outdoor activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active by using mosquito repellants containing DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus or Picardin. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants in mosquito-infested areas. Make sure screen doors and windows are in good repair and fit tightly. Visit OHA's West Nile virus webpage at https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/DISEASESCONDITIONS/DISEASESAZ/WESTNILEVIRUS/Pages/wnvprevent.aspx.
- Tick-borne diseases (Colorado tick fever, Lyme disease) — Wear tick repellent that contains permethrin or DEET. Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and closed-toed shoes, and tuck pant legs into the tops of socks or boots. Frequently check your clothing, gear and pets for ticks, and remove them. After you get home, check your entire body for ticks, including under the arms, in and around the ears and inside your belly button. Visit www.cdc.gov/ticks/.
- Cyanobacterial (harmful algal) blooms — Avoid areas of water bodies where there are signs of a cyanobacterial bloom, such as water that is foamy, scummy, thick like paint, pea-green, blue-green or brownish red in color. Avoid swimming, water-skiing, wake-boarding, tubing, and other high-speed water activities in areas of the lake affected by a bloom. Watch children and pets to be sure they are not swallowing water or coming in contact with cyanobacterial blooms washed up on the shore or dried on rocks. Do not use lake water for drinking because camping-style filters and boiling do not remove the toxins. Visit http://healthoregon.org/hab.
- Beach bacteria — Visitors to Oregon beaches where a public health advisory is in place for higher-than-normal levels of fecal bacteria should avoid wading in nearby creeks, pools of water on the beach, or in discolored water, and stay clear of water runoff flowing into the ocean. Avoid swimming in the ocean within 48 hours after a rainstorm even if no advisory is in effect. Visit http://healthoregon.org/beach.
- Foodborne illness prevention — For picnics, pack a food thermometer, cooler chest with ice, clean utensils, storage containers for leftovers, paper towels and trash bags. Always thaw food overnight in the refrigerator, not on the counter, or cook it while frozen. Wash your hands before preparing food, and if running water isn’t available, use disposable wet wipes or hand sanitizer to clean hands before and after touching food. Serve food from the grill on a clean platter, and don’t use the same plate and utensils used for raw food. Don’t leave food out in the sun, keep your cooler in the shade. Cook meats to minimum internal temperature to destroy harmful bacteria: 160 degrees F for ground beef, pork and lamb; 165 F for poultry. Visit https://www.foodsafety.gov/blog/2015/06/picnic.html.
- Extreme heat — Visit air-conditioned places if possible and limit sun exposure when UV rays are strongest, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Never leave children in a parked car. Drink plenty of fluids, especially when working outside, and avoid alcohol or liquids with large amounts of sugar. Keep up to date on the temperature and heat index when planning activities. Learn to recognize, prevent and treat heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Visit OHA's Extreme Heat webpage at https://www.oregon.gov/oha/ph/Preparedness/Prepare/Pages/PrepareForExtremeHeat.aspx.
For more information, visit the OHA’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/OregonHealthAuthority/; Twitter page, https://twitter.com/OHAOregon or YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/user/healthoregon.
Sign up for beach and freshwater advisories the OHA recreational advisories website at https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/HealthyEnvironments/Recreation/Pages/index.aspx.