Summer Hazards: Sun, Bugs and Alcohol

It is an exciting time of year as spring transitions into summer, school is winding down, and people are eager to travel and enjoy the great outdoors.

As we wish you and your family a fun and festive summer, we invite you to review a few health and safety points:

Sunscreen. In general, please apply a generous covering over your entire skin at least 15 minutes before sun exposure to allow its protection to fully establish. SPF 30-50 should be adequate, with re-application as directed.

  • For infants and young children: Oil/emollient-based sunscreens with titanium oxide or zinc oxide are best and typically well tolerated.
  • Sprays or gels dry quickly and provide UV protection in just a few minutes, compared to lotions or creams. These are preferred when acne is a concern. Sprays have a higher risk of uneven coverage. Rubbing it into your skin is helpful for consistent coverage. Use liberally and ask for assistance with hard-to-reach areas.

Clothing. Ultraviolet Protective Factor (UPF) is the rating system for UV sun exposure given to protective clothing. UPF 40-50 provides excellent coverage—look for this protection when purchasing swimsuits, shirts, rash guards and sun hats.

Sunglasses. Ideally, your shades will protect your eyes from 99-100% of both UVA and UVB rays. This can help protect you from developing cataracts.

Insect Repellent. Use the lowest concentration needed considering your exposure time and insect burden. Apply enough to wet, but not saturate, exposed skin and/or outer clothing. For facial coverage, apply on hands, pat to face, and then wash hands afterward to avoid eye and mouth irritation.

  • DEET-containing repellants are the traditional approach. Strengths of 10-35% are usually adequate. DEET has been reported safe in infants over 2 months of age in sparing amounts. DEET is safe for pregnant women and the fetus when used as directed.
  • PMD-containing repellants contain oil from lemon eucalyptus and offers a plant-based alternative to DEET. PMD is found to be about half as effective as DEET, meaning 60-65% strength of PMD would offer similar coverage to a 30% DEET repellant in terms of protection from mosquitoes, biting flies and gnats. Based on a lack of safety data on these products, repellants containing PMD are not recommended for children under the age of 3 years old.

Ticks. After hiking, gardening or other possible exposures, please do a head-to-toe skin check. Removing a tick with tweezers from its point of attachment to the skin is important. If a tick is found attached to your skin, you believe it has been there less than 36 hours, and the tick is not engorged, you have a minimal risk of tick-borne infections.

Alcohol. Please consume in moderation. Consider your surroundings, the safety of your family and friends, and most importantly, your children. Please do not drink and drive, and use extra caution around bodies of water.

Thank you for taking the time to learn a little bit more about how to optimize some basic health measures. Our hope is that you will use this information to help keep yourself and your family having fun this summer. We are here at MD360® Convenient Care if you need medical care for an acute illness or injury. Please see our website for more details.

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