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Summer Safety Tips
Summer sunshine and summer fun! Swimming in the pool, walking with a friend, fishing in the lakes, going on a picnic, or just being lazy in the sunshine, we all need to use a year round sun protection. Brief exposure to the sun (approximately 15mins) causes your skin to produce the vitamin D necessary for the healthy formation of bones. Long exposure to sun can cause problems such as sunburn, dehydration, skin cancer, and early aging of the skin, WRINKLES!
The sunscreen we choose should include a high Sun Protection Factor (SPF). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has evaluated SPF readings and recognizes values between 2 and 15. It has not been determined whether sunscreens with ratings over 15 offer additional protection. Commercial sunscreens come in a variety of choices. Helpful guidelines to consider when choosing the right sunscreen product are:
- Purchase a sunscreen that claims to protect against both UVB and UVA rays.
- SPF minimum should be 15.
- Apply sunscreen as directed! You should apply 15 to 30 minutes before exposure to the sun and reapply often (every hour).
- Swimmers should use water-resistant sunscreen and reapply as directed on the label.
Sunscreen is essential for safe skin care, but, not the only preventive action we need to incorporate into our outdoor activities. Some suggestions are:
- Avoid going out in the sun between 10am and 2pm. Ultra Violet rays are strongest at this time.
- Protect your eyes from the sun. Ophthalmologists recommend sunglasses that have UV absorption of at least 90%.
- Wear a hat with a brim. This assists in keeping the head cool, and protects the eyes and face from sun rays.
- Use an umbrella for shade when walking or sitting in chairs.
- Dress appropriately. Loose fitting cotton materials provide protection from the sun, and also assist the body in the ability to cool itself.
- Drink water and non-caffeine drinks frequently! Dehydration is a dangerous risk in warm weather. Encourage portable water bottles.
- Many medications increase the risk of sunburn. Talk to your pharmacist if you have questions.
With the proper planning, you can have a safe and delightful summer.
—Roxanne O’Neil, RN, CWCA