Tips for Staying Safe and Healthy in the Warmer Months
As we adjust to our new normal in terms of the COVID-19 pandemic, physical activity continues to be important for our physical and emotional health. Biking, hiking, golf and gardening are activities that we can enjoy while still practicing social distancing. Get outside and do what you enjoy, but take precautions where necessary.
Be Pool Smart
To learn about the signs of drowning, tips to prevent drowning, where to go to learn CPR and more, check out our “Be Pool Smart” brochures. Help us prevent drowning injuries and deaths by printing and sharing these tips with your community.
Practice Sun Safety
According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most common of all types of cancer; it outnumbers all other cancers combined. On any day, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes. Protect yourself and your family from the sun’s harmful rays. Remember, tanned skin is damaged skin. To learn more about skin cancer, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/.
Prevent Tick-Borne Illnesses
Ticks can transmit Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis and other illnesses. Did you know that a tick must stay on the body for 36 hours to transmit Lyme disease? Check yourself and your children and pets for ticks every day, especially if you have been spending time in grassy or wooded areas. Help us spread the word about personal protection by sharing this pamphlet with your community. To learn more about the kinds of ticks found in Suffolk County, the disease they can cause, how to avoid tick bites, and resources in Suffolk County, visit Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases in Suffolk County.
Prevent Mosquito-Borne Illnesses
As the birds and bees start to come out again, so do mosquitoes. Some varieties of mosquito (such as the Culex pipiens-restuans or Northern House Mosquito) can cause West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Take practical precautions to reduce the numbers of mosquitoes breeding around your home. Let’s work together to protect our communities; share information with your neighbors by printing and distributing:
To learn more about the Suffolk County health department’s mosquito surveillance program, check out these videos:
- The Science of Catching and Testing Mosquitoes – Video (Part 1)
- Preparing Mosquitoes for West Nile Virus Testing – Video (Part 2)
Protect Your Family and Pets from Rabies
Rabies is most often seen among wild animals such as raccoons, bats, skunks and foxes, but any mammal can be infected with rabies virus, which is invariably fatal. Pets and livestock can get rabies if they are not vaccinated to protect them against infection.
- Residents of all towns are asked to call the Information Line number -- 631-787-2200 -- to report raccoons that come into contact with humans or pets.
- Suffolk County has increased surveillance of raccoons in the Towns of Huntington and Babylon and the Sound Beach area in the Town of Brookhaven. Residents of those towns are asked to report:
- raccoons that come into contact with humans or pets
- raccoons that are acting abnormally
- raccoons that are dead for reasons other than motor-vehicle crash
- If you have been exposed to a bat, follow CDC guidelines to have the bat captured and tested. Call the Suffolk County Rabies Information Line -- 631-787-2200.
- Residents with general questions about rabies may visit: http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/rabies/fact_sheet.htm OR https://www.cdc.gov/rabies/
See! Be Seen! Pedestrian Safety
Did you know? According to New York State Department of Transportation, Suffolk County ranked third among New York counties with a reported 2,340 pedestrian crashes. To be safe when walking, know the meaning of pedestrian signals, make yourself visible to drivers, avoid dangerous behaviors, and look before you step. Drivers should watch for pedestrians at all times, yield to pedestrians at crossings, observe speed limits and avoid aggressive maneuvers. To learn more, visit New York State Pedestrian Safety.
Be Food Safe
Did you know that it is not safe to eat a hamburger unless it is cooked to a temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit? The U.S. Department of Agriculture reminds consumers to avoid foodborne illness by following four easy steps. Learn more here:
Plan Ahead for Extreme Heat
During a heat wave, try to stay cool, stay hydrated and stay informed.
- Keep your body temperature cool to avoid heat-related illness.
- Drink more water than usual.
- Stay updated on local weather forecasts so you can plan activities safely when it’s hot outside.
- Check on those most at-risk, such as elderly family members, twice a day.
- For more information, visit the CDC Extreme Heat.
August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month
A resolution to designate August as Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month was brought forth by Suffolk County Legislator Rudy Sunderman at the request of eight-year old Caitlyn Michiels, who was diagnosed with a rare eye disease and wanted to raise awareness about children’s eye health in her community. Cailyn’s Resolution passed unanimously in the Legislature and was signed into law by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone in April 2019. The following information is from the American Academy of Ophthalmologists.
Tips for Children’s Eye Health
As summer winds down and parents scramble to prepare for the new school year, remember that good vision is key to a child’s physical development, school success, and well-being. As children grow and change from year to year, so do their eyes and vision. For this reason, the Suffolk County this year designated August as Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month. * Schedule an eye exam for your child and have a talk about eye safety.
Babies, children and teenagers have different eye health needs than adults. Some problems that can be treated in babies and young children become irreversible when a child is older. Once a child's best eyesight is established, it's important to protect their sight from injury, and bad habits.
Why is regular vision screening so important?
Good vision is key to a child’s physical development, success in school, and overall well-being. The vision system is not fully formed in babies and young children, and equal input from both eyes is necessary for the brain’s vision centers to develop normally. If a child’s eyes cannot send clear images to the brain, his or her vision may become limited in ways that cannot be corrected later in life. But if problems are detected early, it is usually possible to treat them effectively.
When and how should screening be done?
It is essential to check children’s vision when they are first born and again during infancy, preschool and school years. Screening can be performed by a pediatrician, family physician or other properly trained health care provider. It is also often offered at schools, community health centers or community events.
Upon entering school, or whenever a problem is suspected, children’s eyes should be screened for visual acuity and alignment. Nearsightedness (myopia) is the most common refractive error in this age group and can be corrected with eyeglasses. If an alignment problem or other eye health issues is suspected, the child should have a comprehensive exam by an ophthalmologist.
Tips for Children’s Eye Safety
When children participate in sports, recreation, crafts or home projects, it’s important for them to know eye safety practices and use protective glasses as appropriate. Each year thousands of children sustain eye damage or even blindness from accidents at home, at play or in the car. More than 90 percent of all eye injuries can be prevented through use of suitable protective eyewear.
Sports deserve particular attention, because eye injuries occur fairly often in children and young adult athletes: between the ages of five and 14, most sports-related injuries in the U.S. occur while playing baseball. Learn more about eye injuries and prevention.
- Children should wear sports eye protectors made with polycarbonate lenses for baseball, basketball, football, racquet sports, soccer, hockey, lacrosse, paintball.
- All chemicals and sprays must be kept out of reach of small children.
- Parents and others who provide care and supervision for children need to practice safe use of common items that can cause serious eye injury, such as paper clips, pencils, scissors, bungee cords, wire coat hangers and rubber bands.
Teach your children to be EyeSmart by safeguarding your own sight with ANSI-approved protective eyewear during potentially dangerous yard work and household repairs or projects.
- Only purchase age-appropriate toys.
- Avoid projectile toys such as darts, bows and arrows, and missile-firing toys.
- Look for toys marked with "ASTM", which means the product meets the national safety standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials.
- Use safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs. Pad or cushion sharp corners. Put locks on all cabinets and drawers that kids can reach.
- Do not allow your children to play with non-powder rifles, pellet guns or BB guns. They are extremely dangerous and have been reclassified as firearms and removed from toy departments.
- Do not allow children anywhere near fireworks, especially bottle rockets. These fireworks pose a serious risk of eye injury and have been banned in several states.
- When very small children (age 4 and younger) are bitten by dogs, eye injuries occur about 15 percent of the time. The dog is usually one the child is familiar with, and second attacks by the same dog are likely to cause more serious injury. It is recommended that any dog that bites a child be removed from the household.
- On the road, make sure children are properly secured in baby carriers and child safety seats and that the seat and shoulder belts fit well. Children age 12 and younger should never ride in the front seat. Store loose items in the trunk or secured on the floor, as any loose object can become a dangerous projectile in a crash.
An ophthalmologist, primary care doctor, school nurse or children’s health service should examine the eye as soon as possible, even if the injury seems minor at first, as a serious injury is not always immediately obvious. Delaying medical attention can cause the damaged areas to worsen and could result in permanent vision loss or blindness. While seeking medical help, care for the child as follows:
- DO NOT touch, rub or apply pressure to the eye.
- DO NOT try to remove any object stuck in the eye. For small debris, lift eye lid and ask child to blink rapidly to see if tears will flush out the particle. If not, close the eye and seek treatment.
- Do not apply ointment or medication to the eye.
- A cut or puncture wound should be gently covered.
- Only in the event of chemical exposure, flush with plenty of water.
More information about Children’s Eye Health can be found on the American Academy of Ophthalmology website www.aao.org/eye-health