A reminder: Summer can be dangerous

Old Iowa Postcard from 1930s. Front Image.
Old Iowa Postcard from 1930s. Front Image.

Maybe you think our politics is scary, but what about ticks?

The Iowa Department of Public Health says tick-borne disease season is underway. Thanks warm, wet spring. And if you happen to discover a tick on your person, likely after you carelessly tromped though wooded or brushy areas, through tall grass or “leaf litter,” be sure to use a tweezers to grip it by its “mouthparts.”

“Pull steadily, directly away from your skin. Because removing the tick’s body is your main goal, don’t worry if its mouthparts break off in the process,” the IDPH says.

Sort of puts the president’s biting tweets in a new perspective, huh?

I bring this up as a friendly reminder that summer can be dangerous. As if you needed another reminder amid all the reminders and warnings from agencies, groups and experts. They swarm this time of year like mosquitoes. Maybe carrying Zika!

Perhaps you spent the cold, bleak days of winter pining for those bright, balmy days between Memorial Day and Labor Day, or as AAA calls them, the “100 deadliest days.” The auto club recently issued a report warning that teen drivers are more likely to be involved in deadly crashes during the summer. Good to know. I love breaking into a refreshing cold sweat this time of year.

So maybe we’ll just give them a ride to the pool, where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has some helpful advice. “Don’t leave your mark at the pool this summer,” the CDC advises.

“It only takes one person with diarrhea to contaminate the entire pool,” warns the CDC in a playful online GIF showing a little kid sliding toward the pool, leaving that telltale toxic mark behind. Yep.

So plug your mouth and nose, or risk ingesting cryptosporidium, which could have you making your own mark for up to three weeks, with cramps. Speaking of being doubled over, the number of outbreaks in pools doubled over the last two years.


Let’s skip the pool and head to the lake, where the Iowa Department of Natural Resources issued a record number of beach closings and advisories last summer due to various water quality problems.

OK, skip the water. Maybe it’s just best to lounge on the shore and catch some rays. Sure, if you want skin cancer. And don’t forget to check the heat index.

And for God’s sake, don’t skip the water. You need to stay hydrated.

Maybe tossing a few steaks on the grill would be a better option, so long as you waited until the end of your shopping trip to pick up the meat, carefully separated it from other items, kept it well-chilled, cleaned all surfaces and tools and inspected the grill, according to the CDC.

You want rare or medium-rare? Tough. The CDC says you get medium, at 145 degrees. And way to go, Mr. Sloppy, you just cross-contaminated the potato salad.

Order pizza. On second thought, delivery driver could be a teen.

Camping might be an option. Nothing like getting away to the great outdoors, so long as you bring plenty of DEET (see ticks, mosquitoes above). Speaking of insect invaders, be sure to burn all of your firewood or risk spreading the emerald ash borer.

And, hey, do you hear an outdoor warning siren? Could be 70-mph straight-line winds, or worse.

Golf? Lightning. Hydration. Heat Index. And, wait, did you just light a cigar?

OK, let’s just stick close to home safe home.

“Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer and the start of door-to-door summer scams,” reports Radio Iowa. The Better Business Bureau of Omaha/Council Bluffs is already receiving reports of a group claiming to raise money for veterans.

Beware of bogus fundraisers, fake magazine peddlers and scammers selling security systems, tree-trimming and driveway sealants, the bureau says.

And, not to alarm you, but I just saw your neighbor return from that new fireworks store with a trunk load of rockets, ‘crackers and Roman candles.

To the basement. Turn out the lights. Wait for fall, when you’ll definitely need a flu shot.

l Comments (319) 398-8452; todd.dorman@thegazette.com

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