After a long winter we are excited to begin summer activities. For many, this includes activities such as swimming and cooking/picnicking outdoors.
- Recreational water illnesses can be caused by ingesting or contacting contaminated water.
- Disinfectants (such as chlorine) do not kill germs instantly and become ineffective if overloaded with other organic materials (pee, poop, sweat, etc).
- The Triple A’s of Swimming were created to help swimmers stay safe.
- Disinfectant levels in pools are supposed to be posted daily. Chlorine levels should be 1-3 ppm.
- The Virginia Department of Health has a resource guide addressing risks associated with recreational activities in natural bodies of water.
- Don’t swim if you have diarrhea. Take children to the restroom and check swim diapers at least every hour.
Summer Food Safety
Keep your outdoor barbeques and picnics safe by using food safety practices that help keep bacteria from having a chance to grow in the food.
- Bacteria in food that can make us sick grow very quickly in warm temperatures.
- Always start food preparation with clean hands. If you can’t wash your hands with soap and water then use an alcohol-based hand towelette to clean your hands.
- Keep cold food on ice in a well-insulated cooler until it is time to cook or serve it. The food should stay at or below 41°F.
- Keep the cooler closed as much as possible. Store beverages and other frequently needed items in a separate cooler.
- Keep raw meat or poultry in a separate cooler or in a leak-proof container to prevent the juices from contaminating the other foods.
- Don’t reuse the container that had raw meat/poultry in or on it for cooked food.
- Use a food thermometer to make sure the meat/poultry is fully cooked.
o Fish – 145°F
o Whole-muscle Steak – 145°F
o Ground meat/Hamburgers and Tenderized Steak – 155°F
o All Poultry – 165°F
- Avoid leaving foods out while you’re eating for more than 2 hours. Leftovers that have been out for 2 hours or more should be discarded.