79752016_xlThe fireworks exploding in the sky, the smell of barbecue wafting along the air, the long summer night spent with family and friends, 4th of July is a holiday and an American tradition unlike anything else. Here are some tips to celebrate the day safely without sacrificing any of the fun!

If you decide to set off your own fireworks, always be mindful of the direction that your fireworks are pointed toward. Avoid pointing them toward people, animals, buildings, flammable material, or anywhere else that could be damaged of catch flame when the firework goes off.

If a firework turns out to be a dud, don’t attempt to relit it! Instead, douse the firework in water and dispose of it. Dud fireworks should always be treated as if they still have the potential to light normally!

If spending time outside is a big part of your 4th of July plans, your guests will be thankful to find themselves not covered in itchy, unseemly bumps the following day. If you’re barbecuing, adding a brand of sage to the flame is a natural way to deter would-be pests. Fruit flies can be repelled with lemon halves stuck with cloves (which also gives a pleasant smell and appearance)!

Give the grillmaster some space to work their magic! The grill should be at least two feet away from any branches, outdoor furniture or dwelling. Keep children occupied with outdoor activities that will keep them a safe distance from the grill (water guns have the added benefit of offering a way to cool off on what’s sure to be a warm summer day)!

Make sure to beat the heat by staying hydrated, wearing sunscreen and limiting time spent outdoors between 10 AM and 4 PM. If you’re going to be putting on bug spray (also a wise idea) be sure to apply the sunscreen first and the bug spray second.

The heart of having a safe 4th of July celebration is keeping an eye out on those around, especially the elderly, children, and even your pets (who may be grateful to find a few ice cubes in their water dish)! Following the above tips, monitoring the heat and hydration levels of yourself and those around you. Your wrists, neck, elbows and knees are some of the most effective “cool-off” points on the body and treating them with cold water is a quick way to lower overall body temperature.

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