Summertime Safety and Wellness

Having lived inSouthern California for the better part of seven decades, like many of us, I have become used to our wonderful region and have taken pleasure in the many opportunities afforded by our natural environment. I have also taken advantage of the natural geographic setting that is almost unique to our area. One can ski in the morning and make it to the beach in the afternoon. Plus there are so many other things to do in between. There is great fly fishing in the streams of theSan Gabriel Mountains. There’s surfing and skateboarding. There are college and professional sports teams that we can all enjoy and root for in various seasons, be it football, baseball, basketball, hockey, tennis or any of the sports that are included in high school and club teams. What a great place to be!

 Since summer is now upon us, we should look at our responsibilities to keep ourselves and our families and friends safe and well during what should be our most enjoyable time of the year. Remember that many of the activities that we enjoy when we are young can have negative effects on our health in later life. The following are some thoughts about safety and wellness during this summer of 2011. 

Summer is here, and for many of us this means looking forward to longer days with more time for activities, sports, vacations, and travel. Here are some safety/wellness tips for your summertime pursuits.

If you or a family member is involved in outdoor activities or sports, consider the following tips:

  • Wear proper protective gear that relates to your sport or activity, which can include facemasks, mouth guards, proper shoes, shin guards, or any other piece of equipment that can reduce the risk of injury.
  • Check the playing surface for any possible tripping hazards,  such as holes, cracks, sprinkler heads or posts.
  • If you wear glasses, make sure to have shatterproof lenses and sports frames.
  • Avoid wearing excessive body jewelry.
  • Learn and practice the specific safety rules for your sport or activity.
  • Always warm up and stretch before a workout or a game.
  • Treat injuries promptly. Do not try to play through an injury. Seek emergency medical help if necessary.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (non alcoholic) before, during, and after your work out or game.

Safety outdoors also includes protecting yourself from the effects of harmful rays from the sun. Whether you are working in the yard, participating in a sporting activity, spending a day at the beach, a ball game, or at the park there is no doubt that ultra-violet (UV) light damages the skin. Ultra violet light (UV) is emitted from the sun. While UV rays are inevitable, there are ways that we can learn to limit our exposure and to protect ourselves. Check the UV index prior to spending time outdoors. The higher the index number, the more potential for harmful UV exposure. To check the UV index, check the local weather report or visit the National Weather Service website.

The following are additional tips for protecting your skin from UV damage:

  • Limit the amount of time you spend in the sun. Avoid midday rays which are the strongest between approximately 10 a.m.  and 4 p.m. Infants under six months should not be exposed to the sun.
  • Cover up. Wear long sleeve shirts and pants whenever possible. Sun glasses and a wide brimmed hat are also recommended. Most cases of skin cancer occur on parts of the body that are not covered by clothing.
  • Wear a broad spectrum sunscreen with a SPF of at least 15. This should be reapplied every two hours when you are active.
  • Don’t be fooled by cloudy days. 85% of the sun’s rays can penetrate cloud cover. Also 85% of the sun’s rays will reflect off sand, water, concrete, and snow.
  • Check your medications. Some medications can cause your skin to become overly sensitive to sunlight. Consult your doctor if you have concerns.

These are some things to consider when you or your family or friends are enjoying the activities that come along with our wonderful summers here in Southern California.

The material presented on this site is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily represent the opinions of Keiro Senior HealthCare, The Institute for Healthy Aging at Keiro, or its contributors. Readers should consult appropriate health, legal, or financial professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.  Full disclaimer

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