Staying safe under the sun


By Haylee Pence

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TROY — With all the summer fun comes high temperatures and high UV rays. One must be watchful of dehydration, sun burns, and heat illnesses.

To avoid these, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water or other cool liquids. When out, wear loose, breathable clothing, according to Nicky Knisley, health educator at Miami County Public Health. When the temperatures are really high, stay inside or in the shade. Knisley also advises avoiding alcohol consumption.

Two very serious illnesses related to heat are heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat exhaustion involves the body’s inability to cool itself down and symptoms include “dizziness, weakness, thirst, loss of coordination, trouble concentrating, cool clammy skin, and rapid pulse,” stated Knisley.

Heat stroke occurs “when the body’s internal temperature reaches over 103 degrees and symptoms include loss of consciousness, behavioral changes, and hot, red, dry skin,” Knisley said.

To help combat the heat, many people will venture to swim at the pool or lake. Knisley advises to never swim alone and to never leave children unattended while swimming. A U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket is suggested for those who can’t swim. While swimming at lakes or at the river, it’s advised to swim in designated swimming areas only and to check water quality reports before entering the water.

It’s advised to wear sunblock or sunscreen when outside in the sun. Knisley said that sunblock is used to block UV rays from hitting the skin while sunscreen utilizes chemicals to absorb the UV rays.

“Either works fine (one doesn’t work better than the other) just be sure you choose something that is ‘broad spectrum’. This protects against both UVA & UVB rays. UVA rays promote skin damage, while UVB rays cause sunburn,” stated Knisley.

The recommended SPF is at least 30 which blocks 97% of UVB rays, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

“Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Make a plan if you’re going to be outside in the heat. Pack extra water, always apply sunscreen before you leave and reapply periodically, pace yourself, plan breaks to go inside, try to stay out of direct sun, if you notice any signs/symptoms of heat exhaustion get inside or to a cool location. If there are signs of a heat stroke, call 911 to get emergency medical attention. Did I mention hydrate?” Knisely said.

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