September 23, 2017
Health & Fitness
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Sun And Water Safety

Department of Health
Department of Health's picture
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August 10, 2017

Did you know that exposure to the sun during childhood and adolescence plays a role in developing skin cancer in the future? And did you know that drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death among children ages 1-9 in the United States?

Summer is here and with it comes pool parties, barbecues, trips to the beach, gardening and other outdoor activities. While the sun and water feel wonderful after cold winter weather, the Department of Health reminds you to be safe. Here are some tips that can help you and your family be safe in the sun and water. Protection from the sun can save your life.

·         Limit time in the sun, especially between the hours of 10:00am and 4:00pm when the sun’s ultraviolet (UVA) rays are the strongest.

·         If you are outside, stay in the shade. Water and sand reflect sunlight, making the sun’s rays more intense.

·         Liberally apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher 15 to 30 minutes before sun exposure. Broad-spectrum sunscreen protects against both UVA and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Reapply sunscreen, even if it is labeled as water resistant, at least every two hours. Water-resistant sunscreens should also be reapplied after swimming or sweating according to directions on the label.

·         Children 6 months and older should wear sunscreen. Ask your doctor about using sunscreen on an infant under 6 months.

·         Wear sunglasses that block 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays.

·         Use lip balm with an SPF of 30 or higher.

·         Cover up when outside by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, long-sleeved shirt and full-length pants.

·         Do not use tanning beds, because they are just as dangerous as the sun’s UV rays.

·         Check your skin regularly for signs of skin cancer, including any changes in birthmarks, moles and spots. If you see any kind of change or other warning signs, contact your health care provider.

 

Every day, about 10 people die in the United States from drowning. Of these, two are children age 14 or younger. From 2011 to 2012, the Anne Arundel County Fire Department responded to nearly 40 drowning and near-drowning incidents.

·         Never leave your child alone in or around water, including bathtubs, sinks and toilets.

·         Do not rely on bath support rings or seats to keep your child safe in the tub.

·         Use toilet locks so children cannot open the lid.

·         Empty all buckets immediately after use and store out of your child's reach. Children ages 4 and under can drown in just one inch of water.

 

In and Around Pools

·         Empty and turn over wading pools immediately after use.

·         Enclose your pool or spa with four-sided isolation fencing at least 5 feet high with self-closing and self-latching gates. Pool fences should completely separate the house and play area from the pool.

·         Completely remove pool covers when the pool is in use; always remove standing water from the cover.

·         Learn CPR and keep rescue equipment, a telephone and emergency numbers beside your pool.

·         Learn to swim. Teach your children to swim, but never rely solely on swimming lessons to protect them from drowning.

·         Teach your children never to run, push or jump on others around water.

·         Only dive from the in-ground pool's deepest end, not the side or shallow ends. Never dive into an above-ground pool, because it is too shallow. People using poolside sliding boards should always slide feet first, avoiding the risk of suffering head and neck injuries from striking the bottom of the pool head-first.

·         Pool chemicals make the water safer by reducing germs; however, these same chemicals can cause injuries if they are not properly handled.

 

Drowning Risks in Natural Water Settings

·         Never allow young children to swim alone. Make sure older children always swim with a buddy or adult.

·         Be sure your child wears a correctly fitting life jacket when on a boat or near water.

·         Make sure children swim in designated areas in open water. Look for clear water with little or no current, and check the depth of the water before swimming.

·         Alcohol use while around the pool or open water impairs your judgment and may slow your reaction time, creating a safety hazard for you and your family.

Preventing Water-Related Illnesses

·         Never swim within 48 hours of heavy rainfall in the Chesapeake Bay or other natural bodies of water.

·         Shower as soon as possible after water exposure. Shower before swimming.

·         Cover open wounds and clean injuries immediately if they come in contact with natural bodies of water.

·         Check for recreational water closings and safety messages. Call 410-222-7999 or sign up for e-alerts about beach closings.

·         Avoid drinking or dunking in natural bodies of water. When drying off, don't forget to tilt your head and let water drain.

·         Do not swim if you have diarrhea or if you feel nauseous.

·         If you have a chronic condition like diabetes, liver disease or HIV, talk to your doctor before participating in water recreation.

·         Change children's diapers frequently – in a bathroom if possible – and always away from the water's edge.

·         Do not feed birds or other wildlife on or near the beach.

For additional information on sun safety and water safety, call 410-222-7979 and request a free safe-in-the-sun kit and “Playing It Safe” brochure.


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