Summer Safety

Certain issues affect our health during the summer months.

Animal bites and rabies

In Northern Kentucky, there are 650-700 animal bites each year, including dog, cat, ferret, bat, raccoon and horse bites. While most of these do not result in the spread of illness, rabies can be a concern.

Tell children to never touch unfamiliar or wild animals.

  • If bitten, wash the wound site for 10 minutes with soap and water, then get to a healthcare provider right away. Contact the Health Department to report the bite or exposure.
  • Bats are the primary means of rabies exposure to people in the U.S. If a bat is found in your home or you come into physical contact with a bat, contact the Health Department immediately.

Learn more about animal bites and rabies.

Heat illnesses

The combination of high heat and high humidity can be very dangerous—especially for certain groups, including the elderly, those with chronic diseases and young children.  Never leave kids in a parked car.  Learn more.

Mosquito bites

Mosquitoes can spread disease, including Zika virus and West Nile Virus, and are active locally in the summer months.

Protect your family from illnesses spread by mosquitoes.

  • Watch for areas/objects that can hold water and support mosquito breeding, such as birdbaths, clogged gutters or flower pots.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants or use an EPA-registered, skin applied insect repellent. Follow the product label instructions, reapplying as directed. Adults should spray insect repellent onto their own hands and then apply to a child’s face.

Learn more.

Protect against ticks

  • In grassy, brushy or wooded areas where ticks live, be sure to wear light colored clothing so ticks are easier to spot for removal. Tuck long pant legs into socks for added protection. Frequently check clothing and body for ticks to find them before they bite.
  • Apply EPA-registered insect repellent approved as effective against ticks when on hiking trails and in woods or other areas likely to have ticks.
  • When ticks bite, they can remain attached to the skin for a period of time. Properly remove ticks by using tweezers and grasping the tick at the point of attachment. Then, wash with soap and water and apply antibiotic ointment. Monitor for any signs or symptoms of illness, as several can be transmitted to people through their bite.

Food safety

Warmer temperatures in the summer can create a risk for food-borne illnesses. Learn more.

Infant botulism

Some infants can get botulism when the germs get into their digestive tracts, grow and produce a toxin.

  • Don’t give honey to babies under 1 year old— even a tiny taste of honey or processed foods containing honey. Honey can contain the germ that causes botulism in infants.
  • Avoid exposing infants to soil especially around construction and agricultural sites or dust. Soils can contain the germs that cause botulism, which can get into the air and ingested.
  • Be careful when canning food. Pressure-cook home-canned foods to reduce the risk of contamination. Home-canned foods should be boiled for 10 minutes before serving.

Swimming pools

The Health Department inspects more than 300 public swimming facilities, including beaches, swimming pools, wading pools, water slides and spray pools and spas in Northern Kentucky. Learn more.

Certain illnesses can be spread through recreational water. Infections of Shigella and Cryptosporidiosis, both of which cause diarrhea, are often linked to swimming. Learn more.

Do not let children with diarrhea swim. They can spread germs in the water and make other people sick.

  • Do not swallow the pool water and avoid getting water in your mouth.
  • Practice good hygiene. Shower with soap before swimming and wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers.
  • Change diapers in a bathroom or a diaper-changing area and not at poolside. Germs can spread in and around the pool.

Vaccinations

  • It is important to check your child’s immunization records and ensure they are up-to-date on all vaccines.
  • Vaccination throughout childhood helps prevent potentially life-threatening, but vaccine-preventable diseases.

More Information

State Health Officials Issue Safety Guidelines for Warmer Temperatures