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By Kevin Watler, Public Information Officer

June 28, 2021

Independence Day is one of the most anticipated holidays on the calendar. Whether you choose to celebrate by enjoying a relaxing day at the beach, a picnic at the park, or with fireworks, it pays to enjoy the holiday safely.

To help keep your family gatherings safe, your West Central Florida County Health Departments serving Citrus, Hardee, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota counties offer these important tips:

  • COVID-19 is still circulating. If you have not yet done so, be sure to get your vaccination. This is the best way to prevent contracting the illness. The vaccine is readily available at many locations.
  • Wear a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to protect yourself from the Sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Be sure to reapply often and seek shade between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when the Sun is the strongest.
  • Drink plenty of water during the heat of the day. Dehydration can be a major threat during Florida’s sweltering heat.
  • Know the signs of heat illness and seek shade and air conditioning during the hottest parts of the day.
  • If you are swimming at the beach or in a pool, never leave children unattended. It takes only a moment of inattentiveness for a tragedy to happen. Assign someone to watch young swimmers.  For more information, visit
  • At your picnic, keep hot foods above 140 degrees after cooking and use ice or refreezable cold packs in insulated coolers to keep cold items at 40 degrees or cooler to prevent foodborne illness.
  • The summer is prime time for Florida’s mosquitoes. Apply a mosquito repellent to keep them – and the diseases they may carry – away from you.
  • Fireworks are a traditional part of the Independence Day experience. Remember that they can cause severe injuries. If you plan to use your own fireworks, visit the National Council on Fireworks Safety website at for important safety tips. Or, you can always leave the show to the professionals.
  • Remember that pets can be frightened by fireworks, so plan accordingly if you know how your pet will react.


About the Florida Department of Health

The Department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @HealthyFla. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit