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Florida - Georgia weekend: How to stay safe during the big game

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – This weekend thousands of college football fans will descend in Jacksonville for the Florida - Georgia game. 

There are several hazards you should avoid this weekend. 

Dr. Fred Jenkins, Memorial Hospital ER medical director states that there is a spike in emergency room visits during this weekend each year  Jenkins says he would prefer prevention and empty emergency rooms. 

Here are some tips to stay safe during this weekend. 

Driving 
•    Take extra precautions when driving downtown near the stadium.  No one likes driving in a crowd and there will be a lot of people out and about.  Give yourself plenty of time, so you are not rushed. Pack your patience. When people try to cut others off, they can get frustrated, which can lead to road rage.  If you get into an accident, you may never make it to your tailgate, or to the game.  It’s better to arrive late and safe than not to arrive at all.  
•    Steer clear of texting. Texting while you drive makes you 23 times more likely to get into a car accident, according to a study done at Virginia Tech. When you send a text, your eyes are taken off the road for at least five seconds. If you’re driving at 55 mph, that means you’ve driven the length of a football field without looking at the road. Whatever you need to say, the text can wait.
•    Avoid drinking and driving. 

Alcohol Safety
•    Try to avoid drinking too much.  Not only does alcohol contain a lot of calories, it impairs your judgment and raises your risk of accidents and injuries.
•    Mix it up. Between every alcoholic drink, have a glass of water.
o    Pace yourself. Three drinks in one hour will put you well over the legal limit for driving. Research shows that even levels under the legal limit can significantly impair driving reflexes and safety.  Have a designated driver, or call a taxi.

Sunscreen 
•    When you’re in the sun all afternoon, dehydration, sunburn and even sun poisoning can quickly set in. Drinking plenty of water and coming equipped with sunscreen can keep you protected from the effects of harmful rays.

Food Safety 
•    Maintaining proper food temperatures can be easily overlooked. To prevent bacteria from growing, store cold foods in a cooler with plenty of ice and keep hot foods insulated. According to the FDA there are 48 million cases of food borne illness annually—the equivalent of sickening 1 in 6 Americans each year. 
•    How long can food sit out? Food should only be left out for about two hours after it’s been prepared, and only an hour if the temperature is 90 degrees or higher. If there is any bacteria in the food, it will start to multiply rapidly at temperatures in the “danger zone” — between 40 and 140 degrees F. 
•    Clues that you may have food borne illness include:
o    Abdominal cramps
o    Diarrhea/Upset Stomach
o    Nausea
o    Vomiting

•    How serious is foodborne illness? It can range anywhere from relatively mild discomfort to very serious, life-threatening illness.
•    What is the cause of food borne illness?
The microbe or toxin enters the body through the GI tract.  It can happen after ingesting:
undercooked or raw seafood, undercooked beef (especially hamburger), unrefrigerated or improperly refrigerated meats, potato and egg salads
•    Who does food borne illness impact?
While the very young, the elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems are at greatest risk of serious consequences from most food borne illnesses, anyone can be at risk for food borne illness.

Football fan rage (violence/fights)
Often, we hear about fighting, violence and brawls that erupt during and after football games.  People may get upset with trash talking about their team or about a loss.  Remember, it is just a game, and in the end, everyone is there to have fun. So, if someone starts something, just walk away and have fun in a safe way.