Bugs, Burns, and More… How to Avoid the Pesky Side of Summer


Ward Off Insects

Wearing a bug repellant that contains DEET, as well as long pants and long-sleeved shirts will help keep insects like mosquitoes and disease-carrying ticks at bay. Look for a concentration of 10 to 30 percent DEET, which is approved for use on children ages 2 months and older. Repellants with a consistency of 10 percent DEET will last around two hours; 24 percent around five.

Bee and wasp stings are another concern during summer, especially for those who experience allergic reactions. Be aware of those in your group who are allergic, and know if they require an Epi-Pen (epinephrine auto-injector) in the case of a sting.

Soothe a Sunburn
The sun’s ultraviolet rays are most intense surrounding the summer solstice on June 21, when the sun is directly overhead. This is generally between May 21 and August 21from 11 am to 3 pm, which is a prime time to develop harmful sunburns that can lead to skin cancer.

“People need to be cognizant of the sun’s peak time of intensity, keeping in mind that … 1 pm is a peak hour,” said Robert M. Conry, MD, associate professor in the Division of Hematology and Oncology and scientist at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center. He recommends using a sunscreen based on your skin type– olive skinned using an SPF of 30 and fair skinned using an SPF of 50. Reapplication is also crucial if you are planning to stay in the sun for an extended period of time.

If you do get burned, make sure to stay out of the sun until the burn is healed to prevent further damage, and continue to rehydrate the skin with a moisturizing cream or aloe. Applying a cold compress to the burn and taking a pain reliever like aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen can help relieve pain.

Celebrate Safely
When it comes to fireworks, it’s typically best to leave them to the pros. According to the United States Eye Injury Registry, 400 Americans suffer permanent vision loss in one or both eyes due to injuries caused by fireworks every year. If you must use fireworks, follow these guidelines:

– Have an adult present at all times.

– Light fireworks one item at a time.

– Do not carry fireworks in your pocket.

– Do not throw fireworks at another person.

– Never shoot fireworks from a metal or glass container

– Never experiment by making modifications to store-bought fireworks.
If an eye injury does occur, do not touch, rub, or press on the injured eye; seek immediate care. UAB Callahan Eye Hospital is Alabama’s only eye hospital and the region’s only Level I Ocular Trauma Center, and offers a 24-hour, 7 day a week eye emergency room.


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