Keep you and your friends and family healthy and safe on Independence Day with these tips.
Alternate your alcohol -- Make sure you have plenty of food in your stomach when sipping a few cocktails, and alternate each with a non-alcoholic beverage like water to stave off dehydration.
Swim in clear water -- A good rule of thumb? Only take a dip in clear, good-smelling water. At the lake, make sure there isn't any blue-green algae or slimy, smelly green film floating on the water. Some forms can produce a toxic bacteria that's bad for your health.
Don't forget the earplugs -- A new report from Loyola University Health System has found that the sounds of summer -- like fireworks and marching bands -- can damage your hearing. Toss some earplugs in your bag or cover your ears in a pinch.
Protect your pet -- Bringing Fido to the cookout? Remember to apply pet sunblock every three to four hours to the least hair-covered spots, and use pet-friendly insect repellants.
Eat safe (and healthy) -- Try to keep your cookout combos to 400 calories or less. If you're manning the grill, designate different plates for raw and cooked meat, and don't leave food in the sun for more than two hours.
Advance protection -- Applying sunscreen a couple times a day a few days in advance of significant sun exposure can improve your skin's protection from harmful rays.
Follow the heat and humidity rule -- When the temperature and humidity are both above 70, you enter the dehydration zone and must take extra precautions to drink plenty of water before, during and after activities, according to cardiologist Arthur Agatston.