Festival and child safety tips
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Public Health Week is Monday to Friday and in celebration of the week public health has provided a few pointers on festival food safety and basic child safety tips.
One of the greatest joys that come with warmer weather is being able to attend all the outdoor festivities. You get to see and experience new things, like games, music, and spend time with friends and family. What is even better is being able to experience the different foods. However, one thing that is also associated with warmer weather is an increase in foodborne illnesses.
A lot of times, the increase in foodborne illnesses are due to food being cooked outdoors. You have probably noticed that most of the food safety controls that you see indoors, like thermostat-controlled cooking, cooling, and sanitation appliances, are not always available at the outdoor fairs. However, that doesn't mean you cannot take that proper safety precautions while enjoying the festivities.
As a consumer, there are some things you should always consider when buying from a food vendor. First, look around to see if their food station is clean. You should also check to see if they have a sink to wash their hands and utensils in. If they don't have a sink, do they have alternate measures, like sanitizing solution for the utensils, hand sanitizer, gloves, etc.? Where are they keeping the garbage and waste? Various critters and insects gravitate towards garbage, so if the garbage is close to the food, there is a high possibility that those same critters and insects are too. Additionally, monitor how they are preparing the food. Are they placing the raw foods with the cooked foods? If so, you may be on the fast track to a foodborne illness.
So what can you do to prevent getting sick at a fair or festival? If you have concerns regarding whether or not the food was cooked thoroughly, you can ask the vendor worker to cook the food a little longer. Always wash your hands: before you eat, after touching animals, playing games and using the restroom. It never hurts to bring some hand sanitizer with you, just in case there are not adequate hand washing stations available.
Lastly but most importantly, if you suspect you have contracted a foodborne illness, report it to your primary care manager or public health as soon as possible. Reporting a foodborne illness allows the public health office to identify potential foodborne illness outbreaks and eliminate the contaminated source.
With these tips, you will be able to enjoy the festivities while still maintaining your health. Being safe at festivals is important, but keeping our children safe and healthy is also an important job for parents.
There are a lot of things we as parents cannot control; our children's choice of music, their taste in clothes, and so much more. One of the hardest things a parent can go through is watching their child become sick or get hurt. While there are a lot of factors that are outside of our control, what we can control are the health habits that we would like to implement in our child's day-to-day life. Teaching our youth to implement healthy habits into their life will decrease their risk of attaining illnesses, spreading germs and getting hurt.
Here are some quick tips that will help with implementing healthy habits:
· Teach your child the importance of washing hands with warm water and soap, especially before eating and after using the restroom.
· Strive for an active lifestyle and aim for at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day.
· Ensure you child hydrates with water and teach them why it is important.
· Show your child how to appropriately brush their teeth and have them do it daily.
· Have your child wear sunscreen.
· Teach your child the importance of eating healthy food, including five servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables every day.
· Get plenty of sleep.
· Make sure you and your child are up to date on your vaccinations.
· Wear a seat belt at all ages, in every seat, for every trip, regardless of distance.
· Make sure your child wears a helmet during outdoor activities.
· Be tobacco-free.
Lastly and most importantly, be a healthy role model. Our children tend to mimic our behavior. Show them what it means to be healthy and to live a healthy life. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the public health flight at DSN: 225-5311.