Summer Safety Month

July 2020

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Make the most of your summer

Summer is officially here! We can enjoy the sunshine and spend a significant amount of time outside. However, with great amounts of sun comes a great amount of responsibility. During these sunny months, it is crucial to keep our skin, eyes and other organs protected from the negative side effects the sun can have on our bodies. In this issue of Positive Pulse, we will learn what measures can be taken to avoid the harmful effects that the sun can cause like sunburn, macular degeneration and dehydration.

The importance of water intake

Recent studies have shown that nearly 75% of Americans are dehydrated. Chronic dehydration can lead to many complications, such as joint pain, headaches, ulcers and high blood pressure. Water helps your kidneys and liver function and aids in digestion. Proper hydration is also great for the general health of your hair, skin and immune system. Staying hydrated is one of the simplest, most straightforward treatments for many common ailments.

Eat Your Water- Water is the best option to stay hydrated, but certain fruits and vegetables also contain a high percentage of water. Foods with high water content include, cucumbers, watermelon, celery, tomatoes, lettuce, zucchini, spinach, strawberries and peaches, to name a few.

Keep Your Bubbles- Many people prefer carbonated drinks, like soda. Soda not only contains caffeine (a diuretic that drains water from your body) but it also has high sugar content. If you enjoy carbonation but want to stay hydrated, opt for a sparkling or seltzer water. They come in a plethora of flavors and contain no sugar!

Make it Delicious- If you really don't enjoy drinking water, try adding some fruit or herbs to it! Next time you grab your H20, throw in some Cucumbers, Basil, Mint, Lemon, Lime, Grapefruit, Strawberries, Blackberries, or Ginger!

For more information on water, hydration and health, take a look at this scholarly article published by the National Institutes of Health:

What would happen if you didn't drink water? - Mia Nacamulli

Polarized Sunglasses

Polarized lenses block light rays that would normally enter your eyes after reflecting off of surfaces. The light that enters your eye after passing through a polarized lens has been filtered, allowing the wearer to see in a different way. If you are wearing cheap sunglasses that do not protect against UVA and UVB rays, then you are essentially "tricking" your eyes into thinking they are protected and they will end up absorbing even more of the harmful rays. Unprotected exposure to UVA and UVB rays can lead to Cataracts, Macular Degeneration and Corneal sunburn.

When purchasing sunglasses, look for:

  • Verification that the lenses block 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB rays.
  • It states that the lenses provide UV400 protection when worn correctly.

Sunburn: Prevention

Sunburn is the skin's response to extreme UV (ultraviolet) exposure and indicates severe damage. It only takes 10 minutes of intense UV exposure for the skin to start its defense against the sun. The first sign of damage to the skin is redness, this is the inflammatory response coming into play. Next, the skin will lose its moisture which leads to that feeling of tightness. Skin cells will then start to thicken and melanin (skin pigmentation) will be produced in an attempt to stop the UV rays from penetrating through the deeper layers and damaging the DNA of the cells. If DNA is damaged and its repair mechanisms are suppressed, skin cancer may occur.

Luckily, there are many things that we can do to avoid sunburn! First and the most obvious solution is to stay out of the sun (especially during peak hours when the UV index is high-typically 10am-2pm), however that is not always an option. If you are going to be in the sun, look for a high SPF sunscreen (50 or higher) and one that contains zinc oxide. Zinc Oxide provides broad spectrum protection from UVB to UV-A1 which provides your skin with the best protection possible. Zinc Oxide is also a stable ingredient in sunscreen and is less likely to break down (or become less effective) in the bottle or on your skin. When applying sunscreen, follow the directions on the bottle and cover all exposed skin. Don't forget to apply sunscreen to are your ears, lips, scalp, armpits, hands and feet!

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Sunburn: Treatment

  • Get out of the sun immediately
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Take a cool bath and then blot skin dry
  • Apply a soothing after-sun gel to skin (avoid greasy creams)
  • Have an aloe plant? Slice open a leaf and apply the inner aloe gel directly to burns. (the inner clear gel contains 99% water and the rest is made of glucomannans, amino acids, lipids, sterols, vitamins A, C and E)
  • Opt for skin care products with ingredients like Clove, Licorice, Lavender, Cucumber and Yucca to reduce irritation, pain and redness. **Look for an ingredient called Japanese Alder to accelerate the repair of UV-induced DNA damage. Pair this with ingredients such as Algae and Hyaluronic Acid to re-hydrate the skin!

Keep in mind that your skin is still trying to heal, so keep it out of the sun and heat for a while. Skin keeps record of the damage done to it, even if the damage does not reveal itself until later. It is important to care for your skin and take preventative measures before the harm is done.

Virtual Summer Events

Are you avoiding the sun because you got a sunburn? Stay inside and check out some of these virtual events!

1. The San Diego Zoo's Safari Park has a Live Giraffe Cam! This means that you can look at Giraffes and other animals LIVE in your home!

2. If you enjoy art, Carnegie Art Center is hosting a Virtual Art Festival! If you would like to follow this event on Facebook, click here!

3. For more "things to do during COVID-19" check out this website that includes 1000 online activities for kids, teens, families and adults!