The snow is finally melted, the lakes are open and the kids are counting down the days until school is out. That can only mean one thing…summer is almost here!
Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital would like to remind you of some important health and safety tips as you are out enjoying the summer season. The sun is extremely powerful in the summer months and can cause not only painful sunburn but is considered to be one of the main contributing factors to skin cancer as well. According to the Skin Cancer Foundations website, “The vast majority of melanomas are caused by the sun. In fact, one UK study found that about 86 percent of melanomas can be attributed to exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.” Always try and wear a 30 SPF or higher sunscreen that contains both UVA and UVB protection; this is typically indicated on the label as “broad spectrum”.
Sunscreen does not last all day, think about reapplying after swimming, sweating or being out in the sun for more than two hours. Better yet, cover up. Wearing long sleeve, light weight and color clothing along with a wide brimmed hat can add to your sun protection strategy. Keep in mind that midday is the hottest part of the day and offers the most opportunity of heat related illness such as heat exhaustion or sunburn. If possible, seek shade during the peak hours of 11:00 am-4:00 pm and try to plan your most strenuous tasks or outdoor activities for children in the morning or evening.
When thinking about sun protection, consider your whole body. Wear sunglasses that provide at least 99% protection from UVA and UVB rays and, whether you are playing a summer sport or doing household chores like mowing the lawn, consider sunglasses with safety glass for added protection. Did you know that shiny lip gloss can actually absorb light and cause painful burned lips? Protect your lips by using a lip balm that contains a minimum of 30 SPF.
Some of the summer health and safety concerns for you and your family include items that you probably already consider year round such as diet, sleep and exercise but sometimes in the chaos created by summer we lose track of what is important for an overall healthy lifestyle. Summer is the perfect time to give your diet a “berry boost”. Berries such as blueberries and blackberries are abundant and in season all summer and contain antioxidants and fiber that are important to a well balanced diet. Plenty of fluids are also a vital part of your summer diet and that means water not caffeine or alcohol which both induce the need to urinate and increase your risk of dehydration. Sleep well, it is important that just because it is light out later that we resist the urge to stay up later. Getting the correct amount of sleep every night, that is 7-9 hours a day for adults, is crucial to a healthy lifestyle.
Some final things to consider when thinking about summer safety are not things we think about everyday but they are no less important. Food-borne illness dramatically increases in the summer. Keep food safe during cookouts and camping trips by handling, preparing and cooking food properly. When having your summer cookouts and camping trips, keep in mind the importance of safeguarding yourself against mosquito and tick-borne illness. Wear long sleeves and long pants when you know you’ll be in areas with a lot of ticks and mosquitos. If possible treat your clothing with permethrin and always use insect repellent.
Everyone at Ely-Bloomenson wishes your family a safe, happy and healthy summer!