This weekend many of us have time off to celebrate America and what makes our country great. Despite all the negativity we see and hear, we are still very blessed to live in this country. You don’t have to look far to see nations with people who have more poverty, (more) rampant corruption, and less freedom. While it isn’t all roses here, at least we do have the opportunity to do more and be more if we are willing to work for our goals.

This year practice a safe 4th of July holiday by following these simple guidelines.

  1. Avoid excessive sun exposure. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are dangerous and can occur more commonly in the summer. If it gets too hot, go indoors or find some shade. Between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm is the hottest part of the day with the most direct sunlight. Go out early or go out later in the evening, but skip the middle of the day.
  2. Also be careful of too much sun exposure because of the increased risk of skin cancer. Even children need to be careful because it is our lifetime exposure that increases our risk the most, not just the occasional sunburn.
  3. Avoid alcohol consumption. Alcohol not only impairs judgment – which leads to many other bad choices – it is a diruetic. Dehydration is a danger for many outdoor holiday celebrations. Drink plenty of water whenever you are out in the heat and sun.
  4. Avoid handling “dud” firecrackers. Many serious injuries can be avoided. I’ve seen patients who lost fingers picking up what they thought was a “dud” firecracker. Eye injuries can occur from sparks and smoke, too.



July is also Recreation and Parks month. So consider using the long weekend to take the family on a trip to enjoy one of our many beautiful national parks. Hiking together builds strong muscles and strong family bonds. Many of the parks have great historical and natural significance, so you can learn while you exercise! When is the last time you went camping? Relaxing under the stars is a great stress reliever. Most of us don’t get the opportunity in our hectic schedules to spend time in nature. However, the health benefits of fresh air, sunshine, green plants, and physical activity are innumerable. Visit a national or state park this month and make some memories with your family.

Have a happy 4th of July!

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.