It’s going to be rainy and relatively cool during some of the long Memorial Day weekend, but people and families are still going to make it to area pools and they’ll also be grilling outdoors.

That’s why, on Thursday, May 25, state health officials sent out a press release reminding everyone of the precautions that will help keep people alive over the weekend and into the summer months.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) advice that encourages safe swimming and safe grilling is meant to “minimize the risk of illness, injury and death.”

The press release also points out that drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages one to four.

NCDHHS Director of the Division of Public Health Dr. Susan Kansagra called drowning deaths “tragic and preventable,” and stated, “Now is the time to take simple steps to prevent drownings and stay safe and healthy wherever you and your family or friends gather for water recreation activities.”

When you swim, heed the following advice…

  • Put down your phones if you have kids. Instead, monitor children at all times around pools, lakes or any body of water. “Unlike the flailing depicted on television,” the NCDHHS release points out, “a drowning child is more likely to slip silently underwater, which can be barely noticeable until it is too late. “
  • Keep pools secure. Close and lock or latch gates or doors every time they’re not being used. Never prop a gate or door open.
  • Know the water conditions. Situational awareness is key. Be on the lookout for potential hazards such as “strong currents, undertows or sudden changes in water depth.”
  • Stay out of the water if you are sick with diarrhea. That one is not so much related to drowning as it is to public health and good manners generally.

Outdoor grilling is another warm weather tradition, and the state has some advice about that as well.

  • Practice good hand hygiene. Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw food or using the grill.
  • Keep raw and cooked food separate to prevent the spread of bacteria.
  • Always cook food thoroughly. Use a food thermometer to make sure that meats are cooked to the correct internal temperature.
  • Store leftovers properly. That is, refrigerate or freeze leftover food promptly to prevent bacteria from growing. Eat or throw out leftovers within three to four days.
  • Clean and sanitize. Thoroughly clean grill surfaces and utensils before and after each use to prevent cross-contamination and the growth of harmful bacteria.