Tag Archives: summer health

Protect Your Skin for Fun in the Sun By Dr. Jasper Liu

UV Safety image

Spending time outdoors is always tempting on a sunny day, especially in Southern Nevada where we experience sunshine most of the year. HealthCare Partners Medical Group encourages people of all ages to take precautions when they are enjoying the outdoors for prolonged periods, as ultra-violet (UV) radiation from the sun can raise potential health risks. UV radiation directly causes damage to the DNA in skin cells. When cells can’t repair this damage, DNA can undergo mutations, heightening the risk of skin cancer.

However, spending a limited amount of time in the sun is an important component of staying healthy. Sunshine is a great source of vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium, increase bone density and reduce the risk of fragile bones.
Prolonged exposure to UV radiation is harmful to the skin. In addition to raising the risk of skin cancer, skin damage such as sunburns and tans also accelerate the aging process, causing wrinkles, uneven skin tones and a rough texture much earlier in life.

It is always important to take appropriate precautions before spending time outdoors. Preventing sun damage is a simple matter of applying sunscreen on any skin that isn’t covered by clothing. Health experts recommend using the highest SPF sunscreen available, as most people don’t use enough sunscreen to achieve its full protective effect. People should apply one ounce of sunscreen before any prolonged exposure to the sun, including sitting in the car for a long commute while sunshine streams through the windshield.
It is important to reapply sunscreen approximately every two hours. Sweating and swimming causes sunscreen to wear off faster, so it is beneficial to reapply sunscreen every hour in those conditions.

Indoor tanning can be more dangerous than sunbathing outdoors. Tanning beds offer the option of increasing the lamps’ intensity, escalating the amount of UV radiation an individual receives. In addition, people can utilize indoor tanning year-round, resulting in regular exposure to UV rays. Even in constantly sunny regions like Southern Nevada, most people will take a break from outdoor tanning during chilly winter temperatures and intense summer heat, reducing their exposure to the sun’s harmful rays.

For those who have already dedicated time to basking on beaches or inside tanning beds, there are simple ways to monitor for signs of skin cancer. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends everyone practice monthly head-to-toe self-examinations to identify any new or changing lesions that might be cancerous or precancerous. Basic warning signs of skin cancer include a skin growth that increases in size, and that might appear pearly, black, brown or multicolored. People should also be on the lookout for a mole, birthmark, beauty mark or brown spot that alters in any way, including changing color, increasing in size or thickness, changing texture, becoming irregular in outline, growing larger than 6 millimeters or appearing after age 21.

Other signs can include a spot or sore that continues to itch, hurt, scab and bleed, or an open sore that doesn’t heal within three weeks. When an individual recognizes these symptoms, it is important to see a physician, preferably a dermatologist. HealthCare Partners’ physicians are always happy to answer any questions about precautions for skin health.

Firework Safety Tips for the Fourth of July

1_Firework Safety
We hope everyone has a happy and safe Fourth of July tomorrow! According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 200 people will visit emergency rooms with firework-related injuries every day in July.

If you choose to set off sparks this Independence Day, taking precautions goes a long way towards keeping you and your loved ones safe. Keep these safety tips in mind:

Keep Kids and Pets Away
Children should not light or handle fireworks, even after they’ve been used. Used fireworks can still be hot and active.

Be Prepared
A spark can land somewhere it’s not supposed to. Be ready with a hose, a fire extinguisher or buckets of water; the seconds you’ll save by being prepared could be the difference between a minor burn and major destruction.

Location is Key!
Here’s what firework companies say about picking the safest location to light your fireworks:

•Light Fireworks on a Hard Surface. The best surface for lighting fireworks is one that is hard, flat and level. You want to “ensure the stability” of the firework so it doesn’t fall down and change directions.

•Don’t Light Fireworks on the Grass. Grass isn’t a stable surface. If you must light fireworks on the grass.

•You Need a Clear, Open Space. If there are buildings, vehicles, trees or other overhead obstructions nearby, it’s not a safe place to set off fireworks.