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Norwalk Daily Voice serves Norwalk & Rowayton

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Take to the Great Outdoors Safely

There's nothing quite like roasting bubbling 'smores over a quiet campfire in the woods on a summer evening. Family camping is as inexpensive as it is memorable, so if you're planning a trip into the wild, make sure you do so safely. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have some tips to help you come out of the woods with some great stories – and with maybe just a few bug bites.

Get vaccinated : Vaccinations help protect against certain diseases and conditions while camping, so make sure your family's and your vaccinations are up-to-date.

Prepare and pack healthy and safe food: Bring healthy snacks along on your camping trip, and take some steps to keep food safe from germs. Pack foods in tight, waterproof bags or containers and store in an insulated cooler. Wash hands and surfaces often and use hand sanitizer if clean, potable water is unavailable. Separate raw from cooked foods. Cook foods to proper temperatures (i.e. ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees).

Practice fire safety : If you decide to build a small campfire, do so safely. Use a campfire pit away from overhanging tree branches and make sure it has a metal fire ring or is encircled with rocks.

Keep a bucket of water and shovel nearby, and never leave a campfire unattended. Be sure to put out your campfire completely before you leave.

Be prepared : The Boy Scouts are on to something. Always be prepared for the unexpected. Before you leave home, check the weather report, learn about conditions at your camp location and tell family and friends what your plans are. Know what to do when toilets are not available. Be sure to bring along a supply kit that includes a first aid kit, compass or GPS, map, flashlight, blankets, batteries, food, clothes and medications. Upon your return home, check for ticks, poison ivy and possible skin infection.

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