Your Fourth of July Survival Guide to Good Health and Safety
By Sara Butler
It’s America’s birthday! Though it may be the day of the year that strikes collective fear into the hearts of dogs hiding under couches everywhere, a lot of people really love the Fourth of July. The problem is that it can be a battle to keep your healthy habits independent on this day! There are dangers lurking everywhere! But here at The Joint Chiropractic, we’re prepared to help you navigate the barbecue-infested waters of our nation’s birthday to keep your health a priority. But don’t think for a moment these tips are limited to one day a year.
One thing almost always guaranteed on July 4 is heat. It can be surface-of-the-sun hot in some places -- you know what I mean, Phoenix. If you’re planning to spend a majority of your day outside, then you need to take some precautions. Be sure to:
- Stay hydrated – You may have a lot of drinks planned, but all we’re asking is that one of them be water. Make sure you take a water bottle with you and keep it full. Dehydration can sneak up on you faster than Washington crossing the Delaware. So take steps early to stay hydrated all day long. A lack of proper hydration could cause unwanted back pain. Down a bottle of water between adult beverages, if possible; you’ll last longer and your back will thank you.
- Wear sunscreen – Sunscreen has come under fire lately, but that doesn’t make it any less important. The rays of the sun can be incredibly harmful to you, so do yourself a favor and apply sunscreen often throughout the day. It’s what John Hancock would have wanted.
- Keep bugs off – Ticks are terrible this year and can carry awful disease with them, so take measures to keep the bugs at bay with bug spray.
- Keep an eye on friends and family – America wouldn’t be what is today if we didn’t know how to work together for the common good. So keep an eye on the people with you throughout the day to make sure they’re taking care of themselves, too! Don’t let them drink and drive, and make sure the kids are watched around the water/pool.
Master the Grill
For many people, the 4th of July is the perfect excuse to fire up the grill! We absolutely approve of a good old fashioned barbeque here at The Joint, but you need to take some steps in order to walk away from your cookout happy and healthy. You’ll need to:
- Clean the grill – A dirty grill can be a culvert for bacteria and other germs that will have people cursing you the next day. Before grilling (and after), make sure you clean the grill. Don’t be a disgrace to this great country with a dirty grill.
- Use lean meats – Lean meats have fewer calories, so grill up some lean cuts of pork, chicken, and beef for your friends and family. Fun fact: Benjamin Franklin loved turkey!
- Go whole wheat – Whole grains are important, so sneak them in where you can. Instead of white buns for your cookout fare, try whole wheat buns to add some fiber to the day. After all, it was George Washington who once said, “It’s far better to offer fiber than none” or something definitely very close to that. Maybe.
- Grill up some vegetables – There are many vegetables that will do great on the grill. Zucchini, squash, carrots, and other heart veggies can stand up to the heat and add a little fiber to help keep you full. Thomas Jefferson will give you a thumb’s up from the great beyond.
A Note on Explosives
At The Joint, we love our patients. We love patients who haven’t been seriously injured by fireworks even more, so do yourself (and us) a favor by leaving the fireworks to the professionals. Most people have no idea just how dangerous fireworks can be – so don’t be the person who serves as a cautionary tale for future generations. Plus, with all that lifting and bending to set up up your homegrown spectacle, you’re greatly increasing your chances of injury -- remember the hydration comments above -- we know that proper form when lifting and bending will be the last thing on you mind!
Go to the celebration offered in your town or city that is run by professionals. That way you can just sit back, relax, and enjoy a fireworks display without a trip to the hospital -- and interacting with the community is a good thing.
We truly wish each and every one of you a very happy and healthy Independence Day. Go out and have some fun – it’s what Samuel Adams would have wanted.
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