Eyes, Ears and Skin: Protect Yourself

Keep summer fun with these helpful tips

sunscreen bottle and sunglasses

Everyone looks forward to summer. And by taking a few simple precautions, you can ensure that your summer lives up to your expectations.

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Fun in the sun

Slather on the sunscreen. Anyone who spends time outdoors should use sunscreen. This includes men, women and children; people who tan easily and those who don’t; fair-skinned and dark-skinned people; people who already have tans; and sunbathers, gardeners and skiers.

The sun’s most serious threat is that it is the major cause of skin cancer. Doctors believe that most skin cancers can be avoided by preventing sun damage. Sunscreens are very effective when used properly. Follow these guidelines to give yourself the most protection:

  • Choose a product with at least 15 SPF (sun protection factor). The number indicates how well the product protects from UVB, the burning rays of the sun.
  • Apply the sunscreen at least 20 to 30 minutes before you go outdoors, whenever you will be exposed for 30 minutes or more.
  • Reapply sunscreen every three hours while you are outdoors, even if the product is labeled “all-day.” If you are getting a lot of sun or perspiring heavily, reapply sunscreen every hour or two.
  • Cover all exposed areas, including your ears, lips, face and back of your hands.
  • Don’t skimp; apply a generous layer. Smooth it on rather than rub it in.
  • Women should apply sunscreens under makeup. If you wait to apply sunscreen until you hit the beach, you may already be perspiring, and moisture makes sunscreens less effective.

Protecting your skin from the sun is important, but don’t forget about your eyes as well. Grab a pair of shades. Even cheap sunglasses can protect your eyes from irritability. UV protection is available in all price ranges. The key is to pick the highest level you can find, which usually is printed right on the lens or tag.

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On the road

Strap on a helmet. Whether you’re on a motorcycle, bicycle or rollerblades, a helmet is a must. Helmets save lives and reduce traumatic brain injuries. Sometimes even minor head traumas have long-term consequences, including permanent disability. Adults should set an example by wearing helmets themselves.

Around the water

Practice water safety. Drowning is the second leading cause of death among children; toddlers and teens are at greatest risk. Never take your eyes off of a toddler near water, including wading pools. Out on the lake, always wear a life jacket and insist that children wear them dockside, as well. CPR training for everyone – even your sitter – can ease your mind.

Tip to prevent swimmer’s ear

Just a few drops of a swimmer’s ear preparation in each ear after swimming can significantly reduce the risk of infection. You can purchase a ready-made solution at your local pharmacy, or make one yourself. An alcohol lavage (cleansing wash) should consist of one quart of rubbing alcohol and one ounce (shot glass) of white vinegar.

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