Tips for a Healthy and Safe July Fourth Holiday

For many of us, this Fourth of July might look different from previous years. We’re well into summer, and itching to get outside to celebrate the Independence Day holiday with our loved ones.

This July Fourth weekend, be responsible and respect local public health ordinances and social distancing guidelines. Whether you’re planning to stay at home to grill in your backyard, or heading to your nearest beach or lake for time outdoors, it’s more important than ever to make your health and safety a priority.

Here are some tips to keep in mind this weekend as you celebrate.

Keep It Clean

Whatever your plans may be this weekend, you may well find yourself wiping down and disinfecting surfaces. To help you navigate this pandemic while also keeping healthy living a priority for your household, EWG has prepared a guide to Avoiding Coronavirus the Clean Way.

By now, you’re probably familiar with proper hand-washing protocol. As for surfaces, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Environmental Protection Agency both recommend cleaning and sometimes disinfecting frequently touched surfaces to prevent the spread of COVID-19. EWG has reviewed and screened government-registered disinfectants and sanitizers to find those that meet the high standards underlying the evaluations in our Guide to Healthy Cleaning. Products on our updated list of 16 Effective and Safe Products To Guard Against Coronavirus have fewer concerns for ingredient toxicity and transparency than the majority of antimicrobial cleaners on the market.

Stay Safe in the Sun

If you plan to get outdoors, sun safety should be a priority wherever you go. Sunscreen alone shouldn’t be your only form of sun protection, so it’s important to take several precautions to minimize sun exposure:

  • Find a shady spot to lounge under or use an umbrella to make your own shade.
  • Plan outdoor summer activities for early morning or late afternoon to avoid peak midday sun, when UV rays are at their strongest.
  • Protect yourself and young children by covering up with light, breathable clothing and hats that minimize exposure to UV rays.
  • Make sunglasses a necessity on bright, sunny days to protect eyes from UV radiation.

Once you’ve taken these precautions, it’s time to put on the sunscreen. Don’t skimp. For the most up-to-date information, consult EWG’s 2020 Guide to Sunscreens, for which we assessed more than 1,400 products with SPF.

Don’t know where to start? Check out this year’s “Best” lists to search for a sunscreen that meets EWG’s criteria for safety and efficacy. This year’s Best Beach and Sport Sunscreens and Best Scoring Sunscreens for Kids are a good place to start if you’re looking for a new sunscreen.

Refresh Your Menu

Traditional dishes and time with friends and family are what make holidays special. What’s July Fourth without a classic holiday barbecue?

This year, COVID-19 outbreaks at meatpacking facilities and other food processing plants have made meat products a more expensive protein source. High prices and more limited options may have you introducing new traditions to your menu as you consider recipes that incorporate high-protein foods you might not have previously considered.

With the variety of plant-based proteins on the rise, they’re becoming a popular option for families. There are even health benefits associated with consuming fewer processed meats. Consider trying a new recipe as you celebrate this weekend – alternative protein sources might just become a staple piece of your future holiday celebrations!

Grocery shopping may be stressful, but it’s important to stock up on groceries that will keep your immune system strong to fight off illnesses. EWG has prepared a guide to help you Shop Safely and Eat Well in the Age of Coronavirus, with useful tips and foods to add to your shopping cart next time you buy groceries. And don’t forget to consult the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ to make sure you buy the best produce possible for your family.  

Keep Bugs Away

Spending time outdoors? Bug bites are itchy and inconvenient, and may also expose you to disease. Some ingredients in bug repellents are too harsh for young children, and some are toxic to certain types of pets, so make sure to check the label when identifying the best option for you and your family.

Keep pesky bugs away using EWG’s Guide to Bug Repellents to make smarter choices about what products you use. Our guide can help you and your family stay safe this holiday weekend.

Enjoy a safe Independence Day weekend, regardless of how unconventional your celebrations may be this year!

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