Environmental Services Program
Summer Safety and Health Tips
Spring is here. This means more field work or outside activities. Being outdoors means more chances of being bit by a tick. Below is the latest press release today from the Center for Disease Control on a new tick borne virus. As a reminder:
To reduce the risk of Heartland and other vector-borne diseases, CDC recommends that people:
- Avoid wooded and bushy areas with high grass and leaf litter (not really an option for field staff, but if you can avoid, do so).
- Use insect repellent when outdoors (DEET).
- Use products that contain permethrin on clothing.
- Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on your body.
- Conduct a full-body tick check after spending time outdoors.
- Examine gear and pets, as ticks can “ride” into the home and attach to a person later.
Information on this virus and other tick borne virus from DHSS can be found here.
Tips for Dealing with Extreme Heat
Tips for Preventing Heat-Related Illness
- Listen to local weather forecasts and stay aware of higher temperatures.
- Weather strip doors and windows to keep cool air in.
- Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sunshine with drapes, shades or awnings.
- Drink plenty of water, even if you do not feel thirsty (check with your doctor if you are normally supposed to limit your fluids).
- Stay in air-conditioned space if possible. If your home is not air-conditioned, go to a public library, heat-relief shelter, or other cool location.
- Pace yourself in outside activities and reschedule if needed.
- Wear lightweight and light-colored, loose-fitting, clothing.
- Decrease exercise.
- Closely watch those who are at high risk of heat-related illness, including young children, older adults, and individuals with physical or mental illnesses.
- NEVER leave anyone or any pet in a parked vehicle.
- Additional tips.
Warning signs of heatstroke
Warning signs of heatstroke in children
Skin is flushed, red and dry
Decreased physical activity
Little or no sweating
Lack of tears when crying
Dizziness, headache, or fatigue
Irritability and fussiness
Less urine is produced, of a dark yellowish color
Confusion, loss of consciousness
In adults, hallucinations and aggression
If you believe you or someone else may be suffering from heat stroke, get help immediately.
Tornado Warning and Alert App by American Red Cross
Get ready for a tornado with the official Tornado App from the American Red Cross. The tornado warning app puts everything you need to know to prepare for a tornado – and all that comes with it – in the palm of your hand. From your mobile phone, call "**REDCROSS" (**73327677) and the American Red Cross will send you a link to download the app to your phone. Apps can also be downloaded directly from the iTunes or Google Play app stores.
© Copyright The American National Red Cross. All rights reserved.
Weather Alerts for the Unpredictable Summer
Summer weather can be unpredictable with the chance of major effects to include wildfires, tornados, and more. It is important to be aware of pending weather conditions. Be proactive to ensure safety measures are being met. The National Weather Service has developed a list of free and paid alerts available by email or SMS text that are beneficial for families and communities. To view the list of weather alert systems available, visit the National Weather Service to subscribe to weather and emergency alerts.
Prepping for Brownouts and Blackouts
Heat and high electricity demands are increasing the risk of blackouts or brownouts. Brownouts typically occur during heat waves due to heavy equipment coming online, short circuits, or electrical companies decreasing voltage in order to meet the needs of peak time. Blackouts are a complete power outage and can last from hour to weeks depending on the cause.
Take action now and prepare for possible service interruptions in your area. Because the length of a power outage can vary from a few hours to several days, you need to plan to get by without utilities for at least three days. Use FEMA’s “Going Off Grid: Utility Outages” and take simple steps to get prepared for an outage. Some utility outage checklist items include:
- Document important phone numbers and vital power company information
- Locate and label your utility shutoffs
- Follow energy conservation measures to keep the use of electricity as low as possible, which can help power companies avoid imposing rolling blackouts
- Have your disaster kit ready and stocked
The “Going Off Grid: Utility Outages” activity module is part of FEMA’s “Preparedness Activities for Communities Everywhere” tools, which provides relatively easy steps to take to be prepared for all types of hazards. For additional tips visit blackouts.
First Aid Smart Phone App
The American Red Cross has created a First Aid application for smart phones. The application puts expert advice for everyday emergencies in your hand. You will have instant access to the information you need to know how to handle the most common first aid emergencies. To get the app text “GETFIRST” to 90999 or search American Red Cross.
The app also features:
- Easy step-by-step instructions guide you through first aid scenarios.
- Full integration with 911 allows you to call EMS anytime from the app.
- Learning first aid is easy and fun with animations and videos.
- Safety tips cover everything from severe winter weather to earthquakes and tornadoes.
- Content is preloaded, providing instant access to safety information anytime.
Are you getting bugged?
Using the correct insect repellent along with other preventive actions can discourage ticks, mosquitoes, and other biting insects from bugging you. Here are some tips you can take:
Avoid tick habitats
- Reduce time spent in tall grass and shrubs.
- Mow tall grass or brush and reduce leaf litter that may serve as tick habitat.
- Avoid contact with vegetation by walking in in the center of trails.
Avoid tick bites
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and high boots to keep ticks away from exposed skin.
- Cover gaps in your clothing where ticks can crawl in by tucking pants into socks and tucking shirts into pants.
- Wear light-colored clothing and you will be able to see ticks more easily.
- Check your entire body for ticks; promptly remove attached ticks without squeezing them!
Remove mosquito habitats
- Eliminate standing water in tires, rain gutters, buckets, plastic covers, toys, or any other container where mosquitoes may breed.
- Empty and change the water in rain barrels, fountains, wading pools, bird baths, and potted plant trays at least once a week to destroy potential mosquito habitats.
- Drain or fill temporary pools of water with dirt.
- Keep swimming pool water properly treated and circulating.
- Cover all gaps in doors, walls, and windows to prevent mosquitoes from entering.
- Make sure door and window screens are working correctly.
- Completely cover baby carriers with netting.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks to keep mosquitoes away from exposed skin.
- Tuck pants into socks and tuck shirts into pants to cover gaps in clothing where ticks might crawl in or enter.
- Stay indoors when mosquitoes are most active at sunrise, sunset, and early in the evening.