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Spring is Here – Sun Protection

The upcoming spring weather means an increase in exposure to the sun. It can take only 15 minutes for ultraviolet (UV) rays to damage your child’s skin. Use the Centers for Disease Control and Protection’s sun safety resource to get quick prevention tips that can keep your family healthy and safe during the warmer months.

Exercising in Florida’s Summer Heat

By Jana Griffin – Orange County IFAS/Extension, Family & Consumer Sciences Agent

Living in Florida has its perks with lots of opportunities to enjoy exercise outside with access to beaches, walking trails, and parks. As you are encouraged to take advantage of these many opportunities, please be cautious of the heat and the damage it can cause to our bodies. Dehydration and heat exhaustion are just a few conditions that can happen in areas that have high heat and humidity. Signs and symptoms can range from light headedness, nausea, confusion, fatigue, loss of consciousness, and in extreme cases, death. This summer, as we continue to enjoy the outside pleasures our wonderful sunshine state has to offer, please remember to follow these simple tips to make it a safe, memorable and happy summer for all.

HEAT

Hydration– Drink plenty of fluids and carry a bottle of water wherever you go. Make sure to drink more fluids than you are losing.

Electrolytes– In cases of prolonged sun exposure and fluid loss from sweating, remember to replace electrolytes. This can easily be done by consuming a sports drink like Gatorade or Powerade.

Appropriate clothing– Wear clothing that is light in color to help reflect sunlight. Choose material that wicks moisture away from the skin, allowing for quick evaporation and helping your body cool.

Time– Consider the time of day when choosing outside fitness activities. Morning time before 10 and afternoon time after 3 are better options as times between 10 and 3 are typically the hottest of the day.

If you choose physical activity options outside, these tips will help you continue achieving your fitness goals and remain safe. Always listen to your body and discontinue all activities if you begin to feel any of the above symptoms.

Sun Protection Safety: Infants

sun safety infants

Before you head to the beach  with your kids, don’t forget the sunscreen. But is sunscreen lotion right for all children?

Babies have sensitive skin, and the chemicals in sunscreen may put them at risk for side effects. Get sun safety tips on how to protect your infant from the sun.

 

Putting (and Keeping) Sunscreen on Children

1. Before applying, consider other ways to protect skin

Dressing your child in sun-safe clothing will minimize the amount of skin you have to cover with sunscreen, which will reduce the struggle from the start.

2. Make it a ritual right from the start

Kids should understand early on: “The privilege of getting to do this fun activity comes with the responsibility of taking care of our skin while we do it.”

3. Don’t wait until the last minute to apply

When you arrive at the beach and kids can see the water, the last thing they’ll want to do is hang around for a sunscreen application. Make sure they’re protected and ready to go.

For sunscreen to work best, apply it 30 minutes before exposure to the sun.  In an ideal world, you’re in an indoor environment when you apply.

4. Apply when they’re strapped in their car seat

This approach can make the process easier with infants and toddlers.

5. Make it fun

Make up games, sing songs, do a silly dance — whatever it takes to make the sunscreen application fun.

6. With older kids, appeal to their vanity

The most powerful strategy for reluctant teens is not around cancer risk and scary scars from melanoma, but around vanity and appearances.

7. Consider spray

They’re convenient, easy to use, and may encourage families to reapply sunscreen in regular intervals.

8. Make sure you have enough

The key to having sunscreen stay in the right place is to use enough. You need an ounce of sunscreen to cover someone’s whole body, so if you have a 3-ounce bottle, it won’t last for a whole day once you start to reapply.

9. Reapply strategically

When children get out of the water for a break or a snack, it’s the perfect time to reapply.

10. Be prepared for impromptu fun in the sun

A sunscreen stick packed in a purse will ensure you always have sunscreen on hand.

Beat the Heat

Summer HeatSummer is here and the temperature is climbing.  With the mercury already reaching into the 90’s it is very important to be safe when you and your family are enjoying the Florida summer.  The National Weather Service reports that heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the United States.  Below are some simple tips to beat the heat and symptoms to be aware of if you think someone is suffering from a heat related illness.

  • Listen to your local weather – be aware of how hot it is going to be for the day.  Pay attention not only to the temperature but also to the heat index.  The high humidity can make 89˚ feel like 104˚.
  • Keep a bottle of water with you – carrying a bottle of water with you is an easy way to stay hydrated.  The high heat can dehydrate you very easily.  Make sure to fill up your water bottle and refill it when you’re finished.
  • Try to avoid being outside in the middle of the day – the day is hottest between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.  If you must to be outside during this time, try and find shade when available.  If it is not necessary, try being outside before or after this time.
  • Wear protective and cool clothing – if you’re going to be outside wear clothing that protects your body and keeps it cool.  Wearing a hat and sunglasses is a good way to protect your face.  If you have dry fit or moisture wicking clothing, wear that when you’re outside.  This technology will help you stay cool.

 

Heat-Related Illness Symptoms and First Aid from the National Weather Service.

Heat Cramps

Symptoms:

  • Painful muscle cramps and spasms usually in legs and abdomen
  • Heavy sweating

First Aid:

  • Apply firm pressure on cramping muscles or gentle massage to relieve spasm.
  • Give sips of water, if nausea occurs, discontinue water

Heat Exhaustion

Symptoms:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Weakness
  • Cool, pale, clammy skin
  • Weak pulse
  • Possible muscle cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fainting
  • Normal temperature possible

First Aid:

  • Move person to a cooler environment
  • Remove or loosen clothing
  • Apply cool, wet cloths
  • Fan or move victim to air conditioned room
  • Offer sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue water. If vomiting continues, seek immediate medical attention.

Heat Stroke (or sunstroke)

Symptoms:

  • Altered mental state
  • Possible throbbing headache, confusion, nausea, dizziness, shallow breathing
  • High body temperature (106°F or higher)
  • Skin may be hot and dry, or patient may be sweating
  • Rapid pulse
  • Possible unconsciousness

First Aid:

  • Heat stroke is a severe medical emergency. Summon emergency medical assistance or get the victim to a hospital immediately. Delay can be fatal.
  • Move the victim to a cooler, preferably air-conditioned, environment
  • Reduce body temperature with a water mister and fan or sponging
  • Use fan if heat index temperatures are below the high 90s
  • Use extreme caution
  • If temperature rises again, repeat process
  • Do NOT give fluids