Keep your eyes and skin safe with sun protective clothing and sunglasses. These defenses can block close to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays. In addition to protective gear, limit your sun exposure and avoid the sun during peak hours of 11 am to 2 pm. When going outside, use sunblock and make sure it’s water-resistant with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Apply it at least 20 minutes before going outdoors and reapply every two hours, especially after swimming, excessive sweating or toweling off.
It’s important to practice good skin protection throughout the year and particularly during the summer months, as skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Everyone is at risk, regardless of melanin levels — especially those who frequent tanning booths. Examine your body monthly to check for abnormal growths or unusual skin changes.
Dehydration and Heat-Related Illnesses
As the weather continues to heat up, drink water often to remain hydrated. Our bodies sweat more to stay cool and remove excess heat from working muscles. If playing outside, avoid strenuous activity between peak sun hours, take breaks and look for shade when needed. If you experience any signs of a heat-related illness, seek medical attention immediately.
Various insects are more prevalent during the summer months. See our blog post on Zika virus — this mosquito-borne virus can be dangerous to women who are pregnant or are trying to become pregnant because it may cause birth defects.
When walking in wooded areas, be aware of ticks and dress appropriately — wear long pants tucked into socks and be sure to check yourself and children for ticks before bedtime. If you find a tick, remove it with tweezers and cleanse the area with antiseptic. Early removal can help reduce the risk of Lyme disease. An infected tick generally has to be on the skin for at least 36 hours to transmit the disease. Muscle aches, stiff joints and a large bull’s-eye rash (see a doctor immediately if this appears) are signs of Lyme disease.
Swimming and Water Safety
Regardless of swim experience, everyone should take precautions while at the ocean, lake or pool. Children and weaker swimmers should wear life jackets while on moving boats, in and around pools and around natural bodies of water. In addition to lifeguards, adults should always supervise children when swimming — if there is an emergency, know the basics of pediatric cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
If you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse, call 911 and start Hands-Only CPR. Push hard and fast in the center of the chest to the beat of the classic disco song Stayin’ Alive; CPR can more than double a person’s chances of survival. Learn more from the American Heart Association.
To learn more about summer safety, visit cdc.com/summer.