SUN SAFETY
It’s a bright, sunny day, and you and your family are outdoors enjoying the fine weather. But that fine weather can turn out to be not so fine if your family doesn’t know the precautions to take to avoid sunburn and heat-related illnesses.

SUN PROTECTION
Everyone likes to be out in the sun, but prolonged, repeated exposure to sunlight can lead to sunburn or, over time, to skin cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that 500,000 Americans develop preventable and curable skin cancer each year. To avoid sunburn and to reduce your risk of developing skin cancer, follow these precautions:
Avoid being out in the sun in the middle of the day, when ultraviolet (UV) rays are strongest.
 – Wear a suitable sunscreen. The American Cancer Society recommends a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. Use a higher protection level for sensitive areas like the face and the tops of the feet.
 – As no sunscreen is water resistant, be sure to reapply sunscreen after swimming.
 – Wear a hat with a brim or a visor.
 – Wear sunglasses with a good UV rating to reduce glare and exposure to ultraviolet light.
 – Wear a shirt if you’re out in the sun for a long time.

Examine your body regularly for lesions or for changes in moles, freckles, or pigmented areas. If you notice any changes, contact your doctor or a dermatologist.
Because severe sunburn in childhood may be related to the development of skin cancer years later, it’s especially important to make sure your children follow these rules for sun safety. Make sure they always wear a sunscreen when they go outside and, for infants, shade them with an umbrella or stroller cover.

HEAT-RELATED ILLNESSES
Two conditions that can develop as a result of prolonged exposure to heat are heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Heat exhaustion is less serious than heatstroke, but it should still be treated with care because it can lead to heatstroke.

HEAT EXHAUSTION
Heat exhaustion is due to excessive electrolyte and water loss through sweating. Symptoms include the following:
Profuse sweating
 – Cool and clammy skin
 – Dilated pupils
 – Pale coloring
 – Increased heart rate
 – Weakness
 – Nausea
 – Thirst
 – Fainting
 – Anxiety or apathy
Call for medical assistance, but while you wait, you can help the stricken person in these ways:
 – Get the person out of the heat.
 – Provide water (only if the person is conscious).
 – Lay the person down.
 – Loosen restrictive clothing.
 – Cool the body with moist, cold towels.

HEATSTROKE
In heatstroke, the body’s temperature regulation system shuts down and the heat generated is recycled in the body, which causes other body systems to malfunction. Symptoms vary, but they may include the following:
 – Dry or sweaty skin
 – Inability to sweat
 – Increased, then decreased heart rate
 – Increased temperature
 – Hot, red skin
 – Rapid, shallow breathing that may then slow
 – Constricted pupils
 – Headache
 – Confusion
 – Disorientation
 – Unconsciousness
 – Seizure

If you notice a number of these symptoms, don’t take any chances—contact emergency medical services immediately. Heatstroke can be fatal!
While you wait for help to arrive, provide the following first aid:
 – Get the person out of the heat.
 – Lay the person down and loosen any restrictive clothing.
 – Cool the body using ice packs or sheets soaked in ice water.
 – Monitor body temperature and breathing.
 – Do not give fluids.
 – Be prepared to handle convulsions.

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