Tomorrow is the 4th of July, which for many of us in America is the height of summer vacation. We visit family, take trips, grill, eat outside, watch fireworks and enjoy the long, lazy days of summer. What bliss.

Of course there are some things to remember. One is fireworks safety. Don’t handle fireworks that are meant to be on the ground, even if you thing it is a dud. Too many people have lost parts of fingers or hands to a firecracker. Second, if you are around really loud fireworks, remember to use ear protection. And if you have small children, consider their ears as well. It doesn’t take too much exposure to loud noises to cause permanent hearing problems.

Thirdly, stay hydrated. It is easy to forget about drinking enough water, but during the hot summer weather hydration is even more important. Also try eating foods like watermelon, which provide lots of fluids and help keep you cool. Plus they taste so good!

This 4th of July, I will also fire up the grill and in the tradition of men all across the U.S. … try to avoid burning dinner. It is a lot of fun to grill, and I like to try different thing on mine. Corn on the cob is a personal favorite. Portobello mushrooms make an awesome substitute to hamburger patties. Toppings for burgers (veggie or otherwise) can be grilled as well. Things like peppers, onions or even tomatoes are excellent off the grill. Try something new and exciting – but also make sure you have a back up plan.

I hope you have an amazing 4th of July weekend with your family. Remember to stay safe, stay hydrated and stay well fed.

Christopher Burton, MD
Christopher Burton, MD

Christopher Burton, MD is a physician, speaker, coach and author, practicing in Pensacola, FL. He specializes in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, which focuses on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of conditions - particularly those of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems - that may produce temporary or permanent impairment of function. Dr. Burton also provides one-on-one Health & Wellness Coaching for select clients who want to improve their life significantly. In addition to his practice and coaching, he actively lectures on health, nutrition and exercise for healthcare groups, colleges, and businesses, and travels internationally teaching on various topics including the treatment and rehabilitation of athletes.