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July 2021 Saline County EH Leader Lesson:
Summer Sun Safety
The hottest part of summer is upon us and with that can bring in a lot of dangers for pets, children, adults, and seniors. There are lots of outdoor summer activities that everyone can enjoy and should take precautions before going outside. In the south we are particularly susceptible to summer dangers so here are five tips for sun safety.
One: Drink Water
Adults are notorious for drinking coffee/colas all day long. While these are liquid, they contain caffeine. Caffeine will dehydrate you so it is not a drink that will quench your thirst. Signs of dehydration in adults include confusion, difficulty walking, dizziness, headaches, dry mouth, inability to sweat or produce tears, rapid heart rate, low blood pressure, low urine, constipation, and sunken eyes. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to make sure you stay hydrated.
Two: Sunscreen – Wear It & Apply Often
There are many options available. Find a brand or type that you will wear and make it part of your getting ready daily routine. All skin hues need sunscreen. Protect your skin with a minimum Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 25. The darkening of the skin from the sun is skin damage, not a healthy glow. In addition to sunscreen for your skin, use a lip balm with a SPF (sun protective factor).
Three: Keep Cool
Lower temperatures have been shown to increase life expectancy. Even small increases in body temperature can shorten the lifespan of senior adults who are fighting a chronic medical condition. When the body is too hot for too long, it can damage the brain and other internal organs. Turn on your air conditioner and/or fans. If you do not have air conditioning go to a cooling station or cooler location like the movies, the mall, the library, or church to find refuge in cooler spaces. Many adults want to save money and try to do so by not turning on the air conditioning – let’s save our health by keeping cool.
Four: Dress for the Weather
Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays that are harmful to vision. Too much sun can also be irritating to your eyes. In addition to sunglasses, wear a hat. A hat serves two purposes. It helps shield your eyes, and it also helps shield your face, neck, and ears from the sun, which lessens your chances of sunburn and skin cancer. Breathable clothing will keep you covered, protected from the sun, and cool all in one. (No polyester double knits in the summer.) If you don’t like the new synthetic blends, go with natural fabrics like a lightweight wool, cotton, or linen. Long-sleeved shirts made of appropriate summer materials will not only protect you from the sun but will also help you feel cooler. Don’t forget your shoes when dressing for the summer. Flip-flops may be in style, but they are a fall hazard. If you want to wear sandals in the summer, choose those with walking support and back straps. When you wear sandals without socks, don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your feet.
Five: Know the Symptoms of Heat-Related Illness
Hyperthermia is heat-related illness and adults are at particular risk. Many of the those who die of heat-related illnesses, such as heat stroke, are over 50 years of age.
Don’t forget to check on family & friends during the day to make sure they are okay. Stay safe this summer and have lots of fun before the leaves start to change and the best season arrives, FAIR season.