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Bartow, FL - With the July 4th holiday coming up and the return of hot weather, the Florida Department of Health in Polk County reminds all residents and visitors to take reasonable precautions during summer activities. As people enjoy our warm weather and many outdoor activities, it is important to take simple steps that will help prevent avoidable illness and injury.

The following precautions are advised to decrease the possibility of illness or injury when enjoying summer activities:

* Wear nose clips or hold your nose when swimming, jumping, or diving in any

fresh water - Closed nostrils reduce your risk of infection by the amoeba, Naegleria fowleri, which causes a rare but life-threatening condition. This naturally occurring amoeba thrives in warm freshwater during periods of high water temperature and low water volume. Do not swim or stir up sediment in warm standing water. Seek prompt medical attention if you become ill after swimming in any freshwater body.

* Avoid areas with obvious algal blooms - Contact with algal blooms may cause

skin rash, runny nose, and burning eyes.

* Be water safe - Do not go into the water unless you know how to swim. Never

swim if you are impaired, and never enter the water during a storm or when a storm is approaching. Always swim with a partner, and supervise children constantly.

* Drink plenty of fluids - Those that do not contain alcohol or large amounts

of sugar are best for hydration.

* Protect your skin and eyes - Wear sunglasses and appropriate sunscreen.

* Store food properly - Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Place coolers

away from direct sunlight. Refrigerate leftovers right away.

* Use proper hygiene - Wash hands frequently, especially when handling food or

after bathroom use. Use hand sanitizer if water is not available.

* Avoid contact with wildlife- Natural areas are home to many animals,

including snakes, raccoons, otters, and alligators. Avoid feeding or approaching these species.

* Protect others - Don't litter. Discarded glass and trash can cause injury to

bathers and wildlife. Please dispose of trash properly.

* Protect against mosquitos - Cover bare skin with repellent or clothing.

Always use repellents according to the label. Repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus and IR3535 are effective.

Please visit the Florida Department of Health online newsroom at http://newsroom.doh.state.fl.us/ for more tips on summer safety.

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