Summer Resources

The following is a press release from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The MDPH offers a summer safety guidance to make sure you and your loved ones are staying safe this summer. The original press release can be found here.

PRESS RELEASE 
Massachusetts Department of Public Health offers summer safety guidance

BOSTON — With summer approaching, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) reminds residents to take recommended commonsense precautions to keep everyone, especially young children and those working outside, safe this summer. 

“Summer in New England means spending time outside in the sun, in the water, on the beach, in the mountains, or in the park or backyard,” said Department of Public Health Commissioner Robbie Goldstein, MD, PhD. “It is also a time to be aware of the importance of taking seasonal precautions that can make this fabulous time of year safer and more enjoyable.”

Prevent Tick Bites 
Certain kinds of ticks can bite and make you sick with diseases such as Lyme disease and Powassan virus. Ticks are most commonly found in damp, grassy, brushy, or wooded areas, including your own backyard. Ticks only attach when you come into direct contact with them — they cannot jump or fly. Follow these steps to help protect yourself from tick bites:  

  • Check yourself for ticks once a day — it’s the single most important thing you can do.
  • Use repellents with an EPA-registered active ingredient; always follow the directions on the label. 
  • Weather permitting, wear long-sleeved, light-colored shirts and long pants tucked into socks. This will help keep ticks away from your skin and make it easier to spot ticks on your clothing. 
  • After spending time outdoors, a shower can help rinse off a tick before it becomes attached and putting your clothes in the dryer on high heat for 10 minutes can help kill ticks.
  • Pets that spend time outdoors are exposed to ticks, too, and may bring ticks back inside. Talk to your veterinarian about the best ways to protect your animals from ticks and tick-borne disease.

Prevent Mosquito Bites 
Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile virus (WNV) are two mosquito-borne diseases that occur in Massachusetts. While there were no cases of EEE in Massachusetts last year, there were six people with WNV. Mosquito surveillance is essential to monitor activity as the summer unfolds. DPH posts updates about activity throughout the season on the Massachusetts Arbovirus Update page. 

While the risk for human infection of EEE or WNV won’t occur until mid to late summer, people have an important role to play in protecting themselves from these illnesses which can be very serious. To prepare for mosquito season: 

  • Drain standing water in and around your house or yard to prevent mosquito breeding. 
  • Repair window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
  • Use a mosquito repellent with an EPA-registered ingredient according to the directions. 
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks to reduce exposed skin when weather permits.

For more information about preventing mosquito and tickborne illness, visit DPH’s Mosquitoes and Ticks page.  

Swimming in Natural Bodies of Water and Staying Safe in a Pool 
Drowning is a leading cause of death among young children ages 1-14 nationally and in Massachusetts, with backyard pools posing the highest risk for children under age 5. To help prevent water-related injury and drowning: 

  • Always supervise children in and around water at all times.
    Infants and toddlers should be within an arm’s length at all times providing “touch supervision” in or around water, including the bathtub. 
  • Teach young children to always ask for permission before going near the water.
  • Never dive headfirst into the water. Make sure water depth is properly marked on the pool deck and vertical walls.
  • Do not swim alone in unfamiliar waters.
  • Look out for fallen tree branches and sharp rocks in the water.
  • Do not swim during a storm or when there is lightning.
  • Completely separate the house and play area of the yard from the pool area with a fence at least 48 inches high. Consider automatic door locks or alarms to prevent access.
  • Remove floats, balls, and other toys from the pool after use so that children are not tempted to reach for them. After the children are done swimming, secure the pool so they cannot get back in.
  • Keep rescue equipment (such as a shepherd's hook or life preserver) and a phone near the pool.
  • Keep a first aid kit that meets ANSI 2308.1-2015 standards (including items like adhesive bandage, trauma pad, & CPR mask) close to the pool.
  • For children who cannot swim, use a properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket. DPH, in cooperation with the USCG, has created a fit test video that can assist with proper fit testing of life jackets. 
  • Do not use toys such as “water wings” or “noodles” in place of life jackets. These are not designed to keep swimmers safe.

In public swimming areas: 

  •  Select swimming sites that have lifeguards whenever possible, and swim only in designated swimming areas. 
  • Always swim with a buddy.
  • Look for signage at beaches. DPH collects beach water quality data and notifies the public about bacteria levels to minimize swimming-associated illness and injury.
  • Know the limits of your swimming skills. Each summer, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) provides free swimming lessons to children at select agency pools across Massachusetts through its Learn to Swim.

Consider becoming a lifeguard:  DCR is recruiting lifeguards to work at its inland and coastal beaches, as well as swimming pools. The hourly pay for pool and waterfront staff is between $22 to $27, depending on position and associated certifications. Qualified applicants can receive up to $1,050 in signing bonuses. For more information, visit the DCR’s lifeguarding website.

Window Safety
Falls from windows involving young children are especially serious – and preventable. Screens are not strong enough to protect children from falling out of windows. To prevent window falls, parents and caregivers should: 

  • Keep furniture – and anything a child can climb on – away from windows.
  • If young children are around, keep windows closed and locked. Only open windows for ventilation that are out of children’s reach. Window screens are not a security measure, and many children fall through them. 
  • Open windows from the top, not the bottom, when possible and lock all unopened doors and windows.
  • Be sure children are always supervised.
  • Install quick-release window guards which can be found in most hardware stores.

To learn more about childhood injury prevention, visit the DPH Injury Prevention and Control Program website.  

Car Safety
Leaving children and animals inside of a vehicle can be very dangerous. In the summer months in New England, the temperature in a closed car can rise quickly, and the vehicle can become a deadly place for a child or animal left in it, even for just a moment.

To keep young children and animals safe in and around cars: 

  • Never leave children or animals alone in a parked vehicle, even when they are asleep or restrained, and even if the windows are open.
  • Always check inside the vehicle – front and back – before locking the door and walking away.
  • If a child is missing, check your vehicle first, including the trunk.
  • Do things to remind yourself that a child or animal is in the vehicle, such as placing your purse or briefcase in the back seat so you will check there when you leave the vehicle.
  • Always lock your car and keep the keys out of children’s reach.
  • Ensure adequate supervision when children are playing in areas near parked motor vehicles.

If you see a child or animal alone in a hot vehicle, call the police. If they are in distress due to heat, get them out as quickly as possible and call 911 immediately. 

Remember, children ages 12 and under should ride in the back seat, properly restrained, even during quick errand trips. Infants and toddlers should remain in rear-facing car seats until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat manufacturer. At a minimum, children should ride rear-facing until they are 2-4 years old and or have met the weight limit of the car seat manufacturer. More information on child passenger safety is available on the DPH website.  

Preventing Rabies Exposures 
All mammals (animals with fur) can get rabies and there are usually more than 100 rabid animals found every year in Massachusetts. Most of these cases occur in wild animals like raccoons, skunks, bats, woodchucks, and foxes, but some pets (especially cats) and farm animals also get rabies.  

People can be exposed to the rabies virus when an infected animal bites them, or when the animal’s saliva gets into a scratch or the person’s eyes, nose, or mouth. People who are bitten or scratched by an animal, or who find a bat in a room when someone is sleeping, or with a young child or pet, should call their local board of health or the DPH Division of Epidemiology at 617-983-6800 for advice. 

Other rabies prevention steps include: 

  • Teach children never to approach animals they don’t know – even if they appear friendly.
  • Report any animal that seems sick or injured to the local animal control official.
  • Enjoy wild animals from a distance and do not keep wild animals as pets. 
  • Make sure pets are vaccinated against rabies. By law, all dogs, cats, and ferrets must be regularly vaccinated against rabies; this will protect them if they are exposed to the disease.
  • Don’t leave food or water for pets outside. Even empty bowls will attract wild and stray animals.
  • Do not let pets roam freely. Keep them in a fenced yard or on a leash.
  • Keep garbage securely covered. Open garbage will attract wild or stray animals.
  • Keep chimneys capped and repair holes in attics, cellars, and porches to help keep wild animals like bats and raccoons out of the house.

Sun and Heat Protection 
High temperatures and increased sun exposure mean that additional precautions should be taken when spending time outside, either recreationally or on the job.   

  • Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Drinks like coffee and soda may dehydrate, so they should be followed with water.  
  • Wear sunglasses, sunscreen (SPF of at least 30) 15-20 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours, and/or wear protective clothing to avoid sunburn.
  • Seek shade and breaks from the sun throughout the day.  

Additional tips on sun and heat protection can be found on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Extreme Heat and Your Health Website or the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency website.

This press release has been translated into multiple languages. Please choose a link below for more translations:


June 24, 2024
Heat-Related Illnesses

Heat Stroke happens when you cannot regulate your body temperature. Your body temperature will rise quickly, your sweating response will fail, and your body will not be able to cool itself.  When this happens, your body temperature can rise to 103° F or higher within 10-15 minutes,  and if treatment isn't initiated, it can result in permanent disability or even death. 

Know the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness and some tips to help prevent them:
Heat-Related Illness: Signs, Symptoms, and Prevention


June 17, 2024 - Heat Advisory

With the upcoming heat advisory, stay cool and informed in the hot weather by following these tips:

• Limit the amount of time you spend in the sun and stay indoors if you can.
• Stay hydrated! 
• Try to stay in an air-conditioned space when you can and do not rely on fans as a primary cooling device. Fans create an air flow and false sense of comfort, but does not reduce your bodies temperature or prevent heat-related illnesses.
• Cover windows with drapes or shades.
• Always check your car for children and pets. Heat can rise up 20 degrees in a car in just 10 minutes. 
• Take cool showers or baths.
• Check in on your loved one and those at higher risk for heat-related illnesses. 

For more information, visit:
https://www.mass.gov/info-details/extreme-heat-safety-tips

.BEAT THE EXTREME HEAT  


Summer Activity Safety Tips

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