It will be a busy weekend for Crop Over events with young revellers taking to the streets for Kiddies Kadooment tomorrow and then the big Soca Monarch show on Sunday. It’s a time when many will venture out to enjoy themselves but you must try to keep in tip-top shape.
Amid all the fun and frolic, you must pay attention to heat, dehydration, noise levels and alcohol consumption. Here are a few tips to help you enjoy all your Crop Over activities this weekend in peak form.
All people, especially children, should stay well away from speaker boxes, music trucks, or any other source of loud sound. Ear protection (earplugs or earmuffs) should be worn if any adult or child is likely to be exposed to loud sound for long periods of time. Walking in front of loudspeakers should be avoided. When wearing ear protection, individuals should be very alert and avoid areas with moving vehicular traffic or similar hazards, as all sounds will be muted.
Use sunscreen on any exposed skin areas. An SPF of 45+ is recommended. Use lip balm as well. Don’t forget hard-to-reach places such as the backs of your knees, back of your neck, elbows and the back of your ears. Feet should also be included if you are wearing sandals, flip-flops or going barefoot. Put a small amount of oil or sunscreen on your hair so it won’t burn.
Examine your skin frequently for new skin growth or changes in existing moles, freckles, bumps and birthmarks. Wear protective clothing, e.g., long-sleeved shirts, long pants and wide-brimmed hats. Beware of reflective surfaces such as sand, water and concrete which can reflect more than half the sun’s rays onto your skin. The sun not only causes sunburns but can cause heat exhaustion and heat stroke; sitting in the shade is no guarantee of protection either.
Avoid direct sun if possible. Find a shady, cool place if outdoors and wear light, loose clothing and a hat. Children especially, should wear a hat. People should drink lots of water. Drink even more if engaging in high levels of physical activity in direct sun or if fever is present. Rehydration fluids should also be used if a person has vomiting or diarrhoea. Fruits such as pineapple and watermelon are helpful.
Take a cool but short shower to cool down after heat exposure. Limit alcohol, caffeine, salty foods, sugary drinks to avoid dehydration. Take precautions with children, they become dehydrated more easily. Look for signs of dehydration which include dry mouth, sunken eyes, dizziness, drowsiness, decreased urination. Seek medical attention if you see these signs.
Food safety tips
Observe the appearance and personal habits of the food handler. Food handlers should have clean clothing and their head should be covered. Nails should be short, clean and there should be an absence of nail polish and excessive jewelry. People should not have rashes and other visible skin infections. People should not be smoking, picking their noses and scratching other parts of their body. People should not be coughing, sneezing and displaying other symptoms that suggest they are ill.
Water and Ice Safety Tips
Once a food contains or comes in contact with water, that food is at risk of being contaminated if the water is unclean. Foods that are high risk include beverages (juices, drinks, etc.), fruits and vegetables, bottled water, snow cone, stored water, etc. Use only ice made with potable (clean and drinkable) water. Do not use untreated water for food preparation, washing of utensils, equipment or hand washing.
Use cleaned and sanitised utensils and tools to handle or store ice and water. Keep potable water in a cool, sanitary place to avoid microbial growth and other contaminants. Do not store water or ice in containers that did not previously contain food, e.g., paint buckets. Use clean ice to cool foods. Purchase water and ice from only reputable suppliers (this includes bottled water).
Before heading out to drink be sure to eat a good meal. Between alcoholic drinks, choose water or a soft drink. If drinking alcohol for many hours, remember to eat in between. Avoid mixing alcoholic drinks. Know your alcohol limit and keep a track of your alcohol consumption. Be aware of changes within your body and mind that you may feel while drinking. It is usually a sign to stop.
Have a great weekend everyone!