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Uncle Sam says: Watch out for bed bugs, fully cook your meat, and stay out of debt

President Barack Obama stands next to a painting of "Uncle Sam," during his visits with workers at 1776, a hub for tech startups, Thursday, July 3, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Anyone who survived the Fourth of July weekend likely had the Obama administration to thank, as government officials offered a bushel of new advice on everything from travel to cooking to saving money.

The Fourth of July is a big travel holiday, and in anticipation of that, the Environmental Protection Agency reminded people to make sure their hotel rooms don't have bed bugs.

There are lots of little things to worry about, but don't worry: Uncle Sam has your back. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

"Inspect the mattress and headboard where you will be staying for the presence of bed bugs," the EPA said. "Leave your luggage on a luggage rack, not on the bed or floor, and try to keep luggage away from the bed."

As one might expect, the EPA also had advice for how to save gasoline while driving from one bed bug-ridden hotel room to the next.

"To save money and gas, follow these tips: roll the windows down when driving at lower speeds; use the AC at highway speeds, park in the shade or use a sunshade, and read about the AC system in your car's owner's manual," the EPA advised. "Additionally, complete needed maintenance and ensure tires are properly inflated."

The EPA also had advice for people once they got to the beach.

"Swim safely, protect yourself from the sun with broad-spectrum sunscreen, stay hydrated by drinking water, watch for trash and other signs of pollution, and report dangers you see to lifeguards or other beach workers," the agency said.

The Department of Agriculture, which last week offered advice on how to prepare a healthy yet uninspiring Fourth of July meal, had more advice about how to cook meat on a grill.

"The amber flames roaring up between the grill grates can easily give the false impression of bringing death to all bacteria," USDA said. "However, don’t be misled. Preparing burgers on the grill is a quest that must be tackled safely.

"Taking the four oaths of food safety (clean, separate, cook and chill) will ensure a feast free from visits to the porcelain throne, or worse, a trip to the emergency room," USDA added.

The Department of Labor used the holiday to create an independence-themed blog about how people can meet their financial goals.

Labor started by offering handy advice like "write down your goals" and "if you are already saving, keep going!" Then the department — which is part of a government that is $17 trillion in debt — offered advice on how to manage debt.

"The trick to saving for any goal is to spend less than you earn," it deadpanned. "[I]f you set up a cash-flow spending plan, it will be easier for you to figure out how to spend less."

Without a trace of irony, Labor also advised — "Paying off debt can be an important step toward financial security."

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