Happy, healthy and safe 4th of July! – Estes Park Trail-Gazette


We are only three days from our national celebration of independence!

How’s this for twist on the definition of independence this year. Personal independence: free from the influence, guidance, or control of another, others or something’s in your life.  Is it possible to live completely independent lives and not be influenced by the bad things?

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I bet there are several things that each of us wish we could get ourselves independent from. Could you, would you be able to become independent from eating fatty foods, from being sedentary, from drinking too much alcohol, from watching too much TV, from smoking, from being in an unhealthy relationship, from addictions, etc. Maybe this should be the holiday where we make new resolutions and make certain changes in our lives towards becoming more independent from those bad health and lifestyle habits!

I’m having these thoughts as I work on this 4th of July article.

Here are four, 4th of July facts and healthy reminders to help you survive next weeks’ holiday!

Fact #1: Did you know that the 4th of July is the biggest beer drinking holiday of the year. There is more beer sold on and around this holiday that any other holiday, it’s a fact that I found on a government statistic sight. Wow, so while you celebrate this holiday, I’d like to encourage you to be smart, safe and to drink responsibly.  Typically, the 4th brings along barbecuing outside on a hot grill, playing with fireworks, increased eating and socializing with good and not-so-good friends. So be careful and don’t play with anything that alcohol might make very dangerous to your health and body!

Fact #2: Did you know that the 4th of July is the busiest day of the year for eye surgeons and others who treat accidental trauma injuries. There are about 8,500 fireworks related injuries each year in the US and 2000 of these injuries are eye injuries. One-third of these injuries cause permanent eye damage and one-fourth cause vision-loss or blindness. The most dangerous fireworks are bottle rockets because they fly erratically and often cause injuries to bystanders. The bottles and cans used to launch bottle rockets often shatter and shower fragments of glass and metal everywhere. Sparklers cause three quarters of the injuries to preschoolers because they find them irresistible and want to hold them and touch them.

So be smart and follow these simple guidelines this 4th. Never allow kids to play with fireworks (including sparklers) without being supervised by a responsible adult. View public fireworks from a minimum of 500 yards to a quarter of a mile distance. Respect safety barriers set up by the pyrotechnicians and if you find an unexploded firework, don’t touch it. Remember that firework injuries can be devastating, and they are preventable.

Fact #3: Potential calorie overload! It’s barbecue day and with all those grills firing up, comes all the fixings and wonderful side dishes that are not low in fat and calories. So, you need to treat this holiday like you do every holiday where the celebrating is centered around eating. Keep in mind that you don’t need to overeat!  Take reasonable portions on your plate and try to refrain from going back for seconds, thirds or more. Plan your strategy, to burn off a few more calories than normal on that day or the next day.  It is a holiday, so enjoy the day and all the food and get back to your normal eating the next day.

Fact #4: July is hot, no matter what state you are in. So, make sure to stay hydrated!  Maybe even a little extra hydration during this day of outdoor activities and celebration. Remember alcohol and caffeinated drinks are not the best for keeping you properly hydrated! Getting overheated adds no fun to a long day outside.  This also brings up the need to protect yourself from the sun. Apply sunscreen, once, twice, and maybe even three times if you are outdoors for the day. Finding shade, wearing protective clothing and gear is also advised.

I hope you have a healthy, happy and fun 4th of July!



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