HEALTHY LIVING: Having enjoyable within the solar – protected | way of life
Now that some of the pandemic regulations have been lifted and people are being vaccinated, we are more active. Juhu for us! It’s been a long time staying inside and masking (although certain situations still require masks and social distancing).
However, we shouldn’t forget to stay safe during the warm weather months. Often we think of sunburn and skin cancer, but there are many other activities like swimming that should be done with caution. Let’s start with sun protection.
Skin damage in 15 minutesYES! Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes. More exposure and damage can lead to various forms of skin cancer, many of which thankfully are preventable.
When we think of going to the beach, we often put on sunscreen or protective clothing, but don’t forget about everyday activities in the sun. Even going for a walk or washing your car in the middle of the day can lead to intense sunlight. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends using a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher, even on cloudy days.
More tips from the FDA• Apply sunscreen generously to all exposed skin areas, especially the nose, ears, throat, hands, feet and lips. Be sure to use mineral sunscreens with the active ingredients zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, as these are generally considered to be harmless.
• Reapply at least every two hours. Use it more often when you swim or sweat. (Read the label for your specific sunscreen. The average adult or child needs at least an ounce of sunscreen, about the amount it takes to fill a shot glass to evenly cover the body.)
• If you have little hair, put sunscreen on your head or wear a hat.
• No sun protection blocks the UV radiation completely. Therefore, other protective measures are required, such as protective clothing, sunglasses and staying in the shade.
• No sun protection is waterproof.
Children and sunChildren under 6 months should not use sunscreen, but should be protected between 10 am and 4 pm with protective clothing and protected from direct sunlight or in the shade. Children six months and older should regularly apply sunscreen outdoors and reapply it after swimming, even if it is cloudy, as clouds do not block UV rays.
Swimming safetySummer is here! Pools and beaches are open. How do you stay safe? Here are some safety tips from the American Red Cross:
• Prevent unsupervised access to water. Fence pools and spas with adequate barriers. Wherever you are, be constantly on the lookout for water hazards such as portable wading pools / slides, buckets, and bathtubs.
• Adults – Actively supervise children and always stay within reach of young children and new swimmers.
• Always wear a US Coast Guard approved life jacket when on a boat or in situations beyond your ability to swim.
• Swim in pairs near a lifeguard chair – everyone, including experienced swimmers, should swim with a buddy in lifeguard-protected areas.
• Name a “Water Watcher” who will keep an eye on children and weaker swimmers in and around the water until the next “Water Watcher” takes over.
Also, keep in mind that slippery surfaces near a pool or hot tub can cause serious accidents. We see a lot of injuries from falling on hard surfaces.
Protection against Lyme diseaseWhat is Lyme Disease? Lyme disease is transmitted through the bite of an infected tick. Ticks can infect people and pets with bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can cause disease. Did you know that New York is one of the states with the highest number of Lyme disease cases?
After working or playing outdoors, don’t forget to check your skin for these little bugs. If possible, wear long sleeved shirts and long pants. Tick bites are most likely to occur when hiking, biking, camping, and gardening outdoors. Not all tick bites lead to Lyme disease, but if you’ve been bitten, call us at (315) 781-8448 so we can assess your symptoms.
How do I stop it? According to the Center for Disease Control, you can prevent ticks on your skin and clothing by using insect repellants registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Parents should apply repellants to their children and avoid hands, eyes, and mouth. Check out the best insect repellent on this website: https://bit.ly/3cxpkK1
Summer is a welcome season for many, but it is also a time to be aware of the dangers. If you keep safety first in all of your activities, you will have a happy and healthy summer.
Dr. Raquel Reyes works in pediatric internal medicine at Finger Lakes Community Health. Finger Lakes Community Health is an independent health organization with eight health centers in the region.