Eating outdoors safely 6 February 2023 By Dale Cooke APD We all love to have a picnic or barbecue outside during the summer, but there a few health and safety issues to consider. Heat and sun Don’t forget to slip, slop, slap, seek, slide, and hydrate. That is, slip on some sun protective clothing such as a long-sleeved shirt, slop on some sunscreen, slap on a broad-rimmed hat, seek a shady spot for your picnic or put up a sun umbrella, slide on some sunglasses, and last but not least, drink plenty of water. If you are carrying insulin or medications make sure they are kept cool but not frozen. Use a suitable case, check out the collection at diabetesshop.com here. Bugs Mosquitos, flies and ants tend to arrive at a picnic uninvited. Have some insect repellent handy for bite prevention and some ice or bite treatments, just in case. Before you choose where to spread your picnic rug, check the ground for ant nests and other potential biting insects. Ticks and leeches are optional extras in some areas, so you might like to read up on removing ticks here. It’s also good to keep in mind that leeches really hate insect repellent and sunscreen. Pack a food net/mini-umbrella to keep the flies off lunch. Water safety If you are going to a beach, river, lake, or pool consider the water safety of everyone. Check water/beach conditions before you go so you don’t head into flood waters, heavy seas, or a cyclone. Consider who can swim, who needs a floatation device and whether life guards will be present? If life guards are present, always swim between the flags. Assess the water – is there submerged rocks and debris in the river or water hole, can you see a rip in the ocean? Don’t forget to pack your water shoes or aqua socks to help protect feet from cuts on rough surfaces and burns on hot sand. Could there be stingers where you are swimming? Do you need to wear a stinger suit or carry vinegar and hot water for treatment? Learn more about marine stinger treatment here. Food safety Everyone’s nightmare is food poisoning after a great day out. Making sure you keep cold foods cold (4°C and lower) and hot foods hot (over 60°C) while you travel, and after they are prepared and cooked, is important. Use freezer blocks and check your esky – does it keep cold foods cold enough for your journey? Electric eskies that you can plug into your car are great for camping or a day out if you stay close to the car. Raw foods and higher protein foods such as meat, chicken, fish, eggs, dairy products and rice need to be kept cold. And salad just tastes better cold. If you don’t have access to a good esky then minimise time out of the fridge – no longer than two hours. Throw leftovers away. Keep raw meats away from already cooked foods or foods which won’t be cooked such as salad and fruit to prevent cross-contamination. Wash or sanitise hands before barbecuing or eating. Cook raw meats all the way through. Cover foods to keep flies off. Don’t forget clean plates and cutlery. If you don’t have a suitable esky choose foods that are less likely to cause food poisoning such peanut butter sandwiches or canned foods. Keep having fun outdoors this summer and don’t forget the hand sanitiser.