Monday, July 1, 2024 - 10:30 am

Summer activities such as camping, swimming and sports are in full swing in North Dakota. North Dakota Health and Human Services (HHS) is sharing tips and reminders to help North Dakotans enjoy summer in a healthy and safe way.

Outdoor Safety

North Dakotans spending time outdoors should be aware of diseases that can be spread by insects, wildlife and the sun.

Most skin cancers are caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. To prevent skin cancers, avoid midday sun when the sun’s rays are the strongest. Stay in the shade as much as possible when outdoors and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Apply sunscreen every two hours. Remember, even on cloudy or cool days, UV rays can still be strong. Protection from UV rays is important all year, not just during the summer, as they reflect off of surfaces like water, cement, sand and snow.

Mosquitoes may carry West Nile virus. Grand Forks, North Dakota, has recently detected West Nile virus in two mosquito pools. To avoid mosquito bites, use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered insect repellent and wear light-colored clothing outdoors such as long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks.

Cases of tickborne disease are highest during summer months and peak in July. Ticks can carry diseases such as Lyme disease, anaplasmosis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. To prevent tick bites, avoid wooded and bushy areas with high grass, use EPA registered insect repellent and check the body and clothing for ticks after coming indoors. Check pets daily.

North Dakotans may encounter animals at zoos, fairs, schools and more. It is important to wash hands thoroughly after being around animals, even if they were not touched. Animals can carry germs that can spread to people and cause illness – these are known as zoonotic diseases. Handwashing with soap is one of the best ways to stay healthy. Follow these five steps every time to prevent germs:

  1. Wet hands with clean, running water and apply soap.
  2. Lather hands by rubbing them together with soap.
  3. Scrub hands for at least 20 seconds.
  4. Rinse hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry hands using a clean towel or an air dryer.

For more information about zoonotic diseases, visit

Water Safety

Swimming in pools, lakes or rivers is one of the most popular activities during the summer, but it comes with health and safety risks such as swimming-related illnesses and drowning. Learn more about safe swimming and how to prevent injury at

Food Safety

Foodborne illnesses frequently occur during the summer months due to the warmer temperatures in which germs thrive. Avoid leaving food out too long at room temperature and never leave unrefrigerated for over two hours. Learn more about food safety and foodborne illnesses at

Child Passenger Safety

Road trips are another popular activity during summer months in North Dakota. To ensure children are using the proper car seat or seat belt for their size, age and development, find a car seat checkup event at

Responsible Drinking

Not all drinks are created equal. Those of age and aiming to drink responsibly can learn the volume of alcohol in drinks to make informed decisions and reduce risk. The Alculator tool speaks volumes by identifying the alcohol content of beverages through a browser-based interactive app. Check it out at

Fireworks Safety and Burn Prevention

The Fourth of July is a few days away, so many will be celebrating with fireworks. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 9,700 people were treated in emergency rooms due to fireworks injuries in 2023 and 42% of the injuries were burns. To prevent burns and stay safe while using fireworks:

  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at anyone.
  • After fireworks are completely burned out, douse with plenty of water before throwing away.

For more firework safety tips, visit

For more helpful summer safety reminders, visit