May 21, 2019
June 7, 2019


(Toms River) – With summer almost here, Ocean County residents are anxious to get outdoors; whether it’s for a day at the beach, a hike in the park or just a back yard barbeque. However, before you venture out, the Ocean County Health Department (OCHD) wants to remind you of some important tips that can protect you from the many safety and health risks potentially lurking outdoors this warm weather season.

Ocean County Freeholder Gerry P. Little, liaison to the Ocean County Board of Health explains, “There are so many things that can ruin your outdoor summer fun but bug bites, food borne illness and sunburns are a few important health issues you should always make a priority to try and keep out of harm’s way. Just take a few moments to think before you act and apply the many simple, yet critical, tips that can keep you safe all summer long.”

The following steps are offered for safe cooking when cooking and eating outdoors:

 Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before handling food.

 Use two cutting boards to keep raw meat, chicken, and fish apart from vegetables.

 Use a food thermometer to check meat, fish, and chicken after it is cooked. When taking foods off the grill, put cooked items on a clean plate.

 Chill food and barbequed leftovers in the refrigerator as soon as you finish eating.

 Always wash fruits and vegetables under running water before cutting or eating.

 Keep eggs in the refrigerator; cook eggs until the yolk is firm

 Defrost frozen food in the microwave or refrigerator, not the counter.

 Mayonnaise-based foods need to be kept cold.

 Bacteria are often present on the rind of melons so it is important to wash the melon thoroughly before cutting. Once cut, refrigerate the cut pieces of melon.

 Not sure about quality, expiration, etc. of food…WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT!

“Always use extra care when barbequing with propane or lighter fluid. Make sure your grills are working properly. Keep a spray water bottle handy and never leave your grill unattended, advises Daniel E. Regenye, OCHD Public Health Coordinator.”

When it comes to pesky insects, most bug bites are harmless, but some mosquitoes and ticks spread germs that can make you sick. A number of these germs are very serious and may even be deadly. Mosquitoes spread viruses like Zika, West Nile, chikungunya, Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), and dengue. Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever are just two of the serious diseases you can get from tick bites.

When you spend time outside, take these steps to protect yourself from mosquitoes and ticks:

 Use insect repellent (also called bug spray) on your skin and clothing. Find the right insect repellent for you. (When you’re done spending time outside, be sure to wash repellents off as soon as possible. Don’t apply repellents on the hands of small children or anything else they might put in their mouths. Always apply repellent in well-ventilated area).

Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks to cover your skin.

 Check everyone for ticks after spending time outside.

 Take a shower within 2 hours after being outside to help wash away ticks.

 Put dry clothes in the dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks.

Bug bites certainly are no picnic but a bad sunburn can ruin more than just your day and cause serious health issues down the road. Skin cancer is the most common cancer and up to 20 Americans die of the disease every day. The good news is that skin cancer is highly curable if treated early. Always keep an eye on your skin and watch for moles and other skin marks by doing a self-exam once a month. Use full length and hand held mirrors to help you check your entire body from head to toe – and don’t forget your scalp.

Look for the A, B, C, D, E’s of skin cancer:

A for Asymmetry.

B for Border.

C for Color.

D for Diameter.

E for Evolving.

Little points out, “Summer is a time to enjoy the nice weather but just a few important tips to keep in mind will go a long way in keeping you healthy, safe and protected all summer long.”

If you have any questions regarding any of these topics or tips please the Ocean County Health Department website at www.ochd.org or follow us on Twitter@OCpublichealth or like us on Facebook. Also, please check out our new website at www.phu2.org, to access and learn more about our Public Health is You Too! campaign to help equip you to take simple steps to improve your health.