LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Arkansas Department of Health gave safety precautions for the July 4 weekend regarding fireworks, food, swimming, and heat along with precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) encourages all Arkansans ages 12 and up to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The ADH says getting vaccinated is the best way to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

To find a vaccine clinic, call 1-800-985-6030 or visit the ADH website.

ADH offers safety precautions while handling fireworks:

  • Read all labels and instructions before igniting.
  • A responsible adult should supervise all firework activities.
  • Use fireworks outdoors in a clear area, away from buildings and vehicles.
  • Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and placing them in a metal trash can away from any building or flammable materials.
  • Never give fireworks to children.
  • Never shoot fireworks of any kind near pets.
  • Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.

ADH warns against foodborne illness/how to handle food:

  • Use an insulated cooler filled with ice or frozen gel packs when bringing food to a picnic or cookout.
  • Instead of using one cooler for all events, use a smaller or larger one based on the items it will hold. A full cooler will maintain its cold temperature longer than a partially filled one.
  • Avoid opening a cooler repeatedly so food stays colder longer.
  • In temperatures above 90°F, food should never sit out for more than one hour.
  • Serve cold food in small portions and keep the rest in the cooler.
  • After cooking meat and poultry on the grill, keep it hot until served at 140°F or warmer.
  • Keep hot food hot by setting it to the side of the grill rack, not directly over the coals where they could overcook.
  • Use different utensils for handling raw meat than you use for cooked or ready-to-eat foods.

ADH tips when swimming:

  • Enroll children in formal swimming lessons to reduce the risk of drowning among children aged 1 to 4 years old.
  • Designate a responsible adult to watch young children while swimming or playing in or around the water.
  • Because drowning occurs quickly and quietly, adults should not be involved in any other distracting activity such as reading, playing cards, or talking on the phone while supervising children, even if lifeguards are present.
  • Do not replace life jackets with air-filled or foam toys, such as “water wings,” “noodles,” or inner tubes. These toys are not life jackets and are not designed to keep swimmers safe.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol before or during swimming, boating, or water skiing.
  • Always swim with a buddy. Use swimming sites that have lifeguards when possible.

ADH tips to prevent heat-related illness:

  • Stay in an air-conditioned area during the hottest hours of the day. If your home does not have air conditioning, consider public places like a library, senior center, or mall.
  • Wear light, loose-fitted clothing.
  • Drink water often. Don’t wait until you are thirsty.
  • Avoid unnecessary hard work or activities if you are outside or without air conditioning.
  • Avoid unnecessary sun exposure. Wear a hat when you are in the sun.
  • Use sunscreen as directed and reapply regularly, especially when swimming.