Weekly health rail, with items on healthier barbecues, tips for camping safely, how to treat heat stress in the elderly, and more.

The grill is, perhaps, the main reason why many people gain weight during the summer.

It's not just the grilled ribs, steaks, hot dogs and burgers. It's the potato and macaroni salads that we pile on the side, and the much-loved recipes that wrap normally healthy fruits into a mountain of whipped cream. Don’t forget all those sugary drinks we find refreshing.

But take heart. Your next barbecue doesn't have to pack a punch with extra pounds.

Leaner meat

Registered nurse Carla Cocco, practical nursing clinical coordinator at Brown Mackie College-Cincinnati, offers some sensible advice on how to avoid extra calories.

"Instead of grilling ribs and sausages, substitute these high-fat meats with chicken, fish or pork. Pork tenderloin is virtually as lean as chicken breast," she says. "It is important, though, to use a meat thermometer to ensure the meat is cooked thoroughly."

Portion size

You can also ward off extra pounds by considering portion size.

For side dishes, a portion should fit in the palm of your hand. Meat should be 3 to 4 ounces, about the size of a deck of cards.

Substitute

Substitution is a big summer rule of thumb.

"Instead of nibbling on cheese and crackers, try fruit chunks dipped in yogurt," recommends Cocco. "Instead of ice cream treats, give the kids sugar-free popsicles. They're still cool and sweet and contain only about 15 calories."

She also suggests drinking water after your first glass of soda, lemonade or wine. Don’t drink your calories.

Get active

Other healthy summer tips focus on activity levels. When attending a barbecue hosted by another, offer to help serve or clean up. When you're busy, you are less likely to eat as much.

Above all, whether you're the host or a guest, join in on the outdoor fun. Pick up a badminton racket, or get in on a game of horseshoes or volleyball. Even toss a few water balloons. That's what summer is all about.

-- ARA

Study: Air traffic control tracking method reduces medical errors

New research shows that a method used by air traffic controllers tracks patient data more effectively and with fewer errors compared with current hospital methods, primarily the use of clipboards.

Currently there is no standard practice for tracking the movement of patients.

By keeping data in "air traffic control" bays and regularly reprioritizing this data depending on patient condition and doctor availability, information was available in one location as opposed to on a roving clipboard.

This system provided hospital administrators with knowledge of current hospital capacity so resources could be redirected – and patients reprioritized – in real time.

-- Journal of the American College of Surgeons

Did You Know?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, back injuries account for 1 of every 5 workplace injuries or illnesses.

Health Tip: Camping safely

In an enclosed or partially enclosed area, carbon monoxide can be very harmful and even deadly.

To protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning while camping:

- Place camp stoves, generators, portable heaters, fuel-burning lanterns and similar items outside only. Keep them away from tents and shelters.

- Be alert to the most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning: headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.

- If you think you may be sick from carbon monoxide poisoning, get fresh air and medical attention quickly.

-- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Number to Know: 10

A Chicago couple wore masks and kept 10 feet away from friends and family at their wedding after coming down with suspected swine flu two days before the big day. They went ahead with the ceremony after doctors told them guests wouldn’t be at serious risk.

Children’s Health: Bike safety tips

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers the following tips to keep your little one safe while riding his or her bike:

- Do not push your child to ride a 2-wheeled bike until he or she is ready, at about age 5 or 6.

- Take your child with you when you shop for the bike, so that he or she can try it out. Buy a bike that is the right size, not one your child has to "grow into."

- Your child needs to wear a CPSC-approved helmet on every bike ride, no matter how short or how close to home.

- A helmet should be worn so that it is secure and level on the head, not tipped forward or backward.

Senior Health: How to treat heat stress

Elderly people are more prone to heat stress than younger people.

If you see any signs of severe heat stress, you may be dealing with a life-threatening emergency. Have someone call for immediate medical assistance while you begin cooling the affected person:

- Get the person to a shady area.

- Cool the person rapidly, using whatever methods you can. For example, immerse the person in a tub of cool water; place the person in a cool shower; spray the person with cool water from a garden hose; sponge the person with cool water; or if the humidity is low, wrap the person in a cool, wet sheet and fan him or her vigorously.

- Monitor body temperature and continue cooling efforts until the body temperature drops to 101–102 degrees Fahrenheit.

- Do not give the person alcohol to drink.

-- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

GateHouse News Service