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New York City Seal
Press Release
New York City Department of Health
Office of Public Affairs
CONTACT: Sandra Mullin/Steven Herman
Tuesday, June 25, 2002
(212) 788-5290 | (877) 640-1347
(212) 764-7667(Weekend)


With July 4th approaching, New York City Health Commissioner, Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., reminded New Yorkers to take health and safety precautions during the holiday weekend and throughout the rest of the summer.

Dr. Frieden said, "Summer is a great time in New York City with a number of enjoyable outdoor activities available throughout the five boroughs. It is important, however, to protect oneself during the hot and humid summer months. When participating in outdoor activities, New Yorkers should take simple safety measures – such as, staying hydrated, exercising water safety, and preparing food correctly – to ensure that summer is both fun and safe."

Beat the Heat
  • Drink lots of fluids to avoid dehydration. Water and diluted juices are the best. Avoid alcohol, because it can lessen one's ability to cool oneself. Anyone on fluid-restricting diets or taking diuretics (water pills) should consult their doctors.
  • If possible, stay in air-conditioned areas. This is particularly important during the sun's peak hours of 11 A.M. to 4 P.M.
  • Wear lightweight, light colored, loose fitting clothing.
  • Do not leave children or pets in an enclosed automobile.
  • Check on neighbors and relatives, especially the elderly, who are at a high risk for heat-related conditions.
  • Sunscreen protects against the sun's ultraviolet rays, which can lead to sunburn, sun poisoning, and increases the risk of skin cancer. Use sunscreen with at least a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 15. Apply the sunscreen 30 minutes before going into the sun to avoid it washing off quickly. When putting on the sunscreen, apply liberally and reapply frequently, especially after swimming or rigorous activity that causes you to sweat. It is particularly important to use sunscreen if you have fair or sensitive skin.

Practice Water Safety
  • Swim only in the presence of a lifeguard, trained water safety technician, or, for children, a parent/guardian.
  • Be aware of signs posted at New York City beaches that have been approved for swimming, especially after significant and/or heavy rainfalls. The signs note dangerous currents or riptides.

Prepare Food Safely (Tips for Barbecues and Summer Meals)
  • Grill and cook chopped meat until well done. Juices should be clear, and cooked meat should be brown throughout.
  • Keep raw meat, as well as their drippings, from touching other foods. Do not put meat you have already cooked back on a plate with raw meat.
  • After preparing raw meat and poultry, wash kitchen surfaces, cutting boards and utensils with hot, soapy water, rinse with water and sanitize surfaces with a solution of water and bleach (one tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water) if you are immersing the cooking utensils and materials. If you are wiping the cooking utensils, surfaces, and materials, use a solution of two tablespoons of bleach per gallon of water. Allow washed and sanitized surfaces to air dry or wipe them dry with a clean towel.
  • Always wash hands with hot, soapy water immediately after touching raw poultry or meat.
  • Avoid eating raw shellfish (e.g., oysters, muscles, clams, etc.), especially anyone 65 years or older; nursing home and chronic care facility residents; individuals with liver or kidney problems, metabolic disease; people with lowered resistance to infection because of cancer, medical treatment, or immune system disease (including HIV); and very young children.

Install Window Guards
  • Never leave children alone in a room where there are open windows that do not have window guards.
  • If window guards are not yet installed, keep bottom windows closed and only open top windows for fresh air.
  • Never let children play on fire escapes, on rooftops, in halls with windows that do not have window guards, near elevator shafts, or near steps or stairs.

Protect Yourself Against West Nile Virus
  • If outside during the hours between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active, wear protective clothing such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and socks.
  • Consider the use of an insect repellent containing DEET. Use DEET according to manufacturer's directions.
  • Make sure that doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.
  • Eliminate standing water around your home where mosquitoes can breed.

Guard Against Ticks
  • Insect repellants, which contains DEET, can be helpful. Use DEET according to manufacturer's directions.
  • Walk on cleared trails instead of overgrown areas, but still check for ticks attached to clothing or skin. Check yourself, children, and pets again for ticks again when returning indoors.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants with the legs tucked into socks, and closed-toe shoes when in grassy or wooded areas of parks, beaches, and other vegetated areas. Remember, ticks are easier to see on light-colored clothing.

For more information about any of the aforementioned health topics, please visit the Health Department's Web site at