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Published: Friday, 5/27/2011

Commissioner offers summer health tips

With summer approaching, Toledo-Lucas County Health Commissioner Dr. David Grossman has some seasonal tips for the public on the subjects of mosquitoes and ticks, food safety, sunburn, and poisonous plants.

Because of the wet spring, “this is going to be a banner year for mosquitoes and a bad year for us,” the health commissioner explained Friday during a short news conference at the health department.

“Protecting yourself against mosquitoes is critical.”

His advice: Eliminate areas of stagnant water in your yard and wear insect repellent. Mosquitoes are a potential threat because they can carry serious diseases such as West Nile virus and different kinds of encephalitis.

Along the subject line of insects, ticks, too, can be the bearer of serious afflictions such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Dr. Grossman said. He recommended avoiding overgrown areas that can harbor ticks, and if a tick is found either on a person or a pet, remove it as quickly as possible [with tweezers or covered hands]. Tick preventatives also are useful for pets.

Dr. Grossman said his advice for food safety and poisonous plants followed common sense.

“Keep cold food cold, and hot food hot,” he said. “If you bring it from a cool area, cook it right away. Clean and wash you hands, and don’t let food sit out.”

Protection from the sun is important because “the incidence of skin cancer is increasing,” and heatstroke can come with sunburns, he explained.

People can be exposed to poison ivy, oak, and sumac, while working in their yards. Long sleeves, pants, boots, and gloves afford protection. Exposed clothing should be washed separately from other laundry.

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