We’re finally seeing some long-awaited sunshine and warmth on the East Coast, and as we head into our first long weekend of the summer we thought we’d share some summer safety tips!
Before you head out to enjoy the parks, beaches or a nice sunny stroll take a moment to review the sun safety tips below.
- Wear Clothes: shirts, shorts, hats, pants shield your skin from the sun’s UV rays reducing your risk by 27%.
- Find Shade or make it: picnic under a tree, bring an umbrella to the beach, keep infants in the shade, reducing the risk of multiple burns by 30%. Sun exposure is intensified around water, sand and snow with the reflection.
- Wear glasses: UVA and UVB protection for adults and children.
- Plan around the sun: the sun’s rays are strongest mid day (11am-3pm). Avoid direct prolonged exposure to unprotected sun during this time. Check the UV index
- Don’t get burned: red, sore, blistered skin means you’ve gotten too much sun!
Sunscreen Brands to try:
- Mineral-based sunblocks containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are the safest and available at any health food store and many large chain grocery stores. They provide both UVA and UVB protection. Favourite choices include: Badger, Green Beaver & Alba. I have always liked Badger SPF 30 Face Stick- it goes on easily, a bit white, least apt to cause a skin irritation or contribute to acne prone skin. Works wonderfully for children as well.
Things to avoid:
- Avoid using sunscreen on infants 6 months of age or younger unless adequate clothing and shade are not available. It is advised that sunscreen only be applied on exposed areas when absolutely necessary in infants. You can purchase clothing with UV protection, as well as stroller shades with UV protection.
After the Sun Burn has Happened:
- ALOE VERA:
- One of the best remedies to help soothe, cool, reduce pain and redness from sunburns. Ideally, it is best to use the gel from a fresh plant but there are many products available at your local pharmacy and health food section of the grocery store. Aloe is easily grown at home as well and the juice can be directly applied to skin!
- BAKING SODA: Baking soda creates an alkaline environment that is soothing to the skin. It has antiseptic properties, can help with the sting and itch from sunburns. Mix baking soda and water together, and use cotton balls to apply the solution to affected areas. Or, add a half cup of baking soda to a tepid bath and soak.
HEADACHES From Summer Heat
Sunny warm weather gets you out and about–but it can also be the source of your headache.
- Go somewhere cool – with air conditioning or take a cool shower
- Remember to have healthy snacks with protein
- Hydration to avoid heat based headaches – A great electrolyte drink is coconut water.
To Increase your water intake:
- Include water-laden foods in your diet such as soup broths, celery, melons, and bok choy.
- Squeeze fresh lemon or lime into your water to enhance the taste.
- In the morning, fill a 2 liter bottle and make sure it’s gone by the end of the day.
- Keep a water bottle with you at your desk, in your purse, or in your car. The more accessible water is to you, the more you will drink it.
- Drink herbal teas such as peach, mint, or strawberry. Add some ice cubes for a refreshing, thirst-quenching iced tea.
- Reduce your intake of diuretic beverages such as coffee and black tea. For every cup of coffee you drink, add an extra glass of water.
This is an infection that occurs when water remains trapped in the ear canal. This moist environment is ideal for the growth of bacteria, and, in rare cases, fungus. Some patients get swimmer’s ear from swimming, although it can happen from bathing, showering, or even sweating. A lack of earwax due to aggressive cleaning with cotton swabs or small objects can cause swimmer’s ear. Earwax limits the growth of bacteria and is a natural barrier to moisture.
- St. Francis Ear oil (topical): contains Mullein, Calendula, Garlic and St. John’s wort
- A highly effective remedy for relieving the inflammation, pain, discomfort, and itching associated with ear infections. It has proven very useful for swimmer’s ear.
- Mullein and St. John’s Wort: have pain-relieving properties – helping to decrease pain.
- Calendula: is traditionally used as a wound healer.
- Garlic: is strongly anti-microbial and thus fights the infections that underlie most inflammations in the ear.
MOTION SICKNESS occurs when the brain receives conflicting messages from the inner ear, eyes, and other parts of the body in response to motion, most often during some kind of travel.
- Ginger: is a traditional remedy for nausea, and can work as a preventative for motion sickness. If you start taking it before your trip at least a couple of hours before departure. In preparation for longer trips it’s better to start 24-48 hours in advance. Continue to take it at regular intervals during the trip, or as needed. Comes as fresh ginger, capsules, candies.
- Acupressure: Traditionally, the acupuncture point known as Pericardium 6 is said to help relieve nausea. It is on the inside of the wrist, about the length of 2 fingernails up the arm from the center of the wrist crease. Many travel stores sell wrist bands with plastic pegs that press on this acupressure point – called Sea Bands. Proper placement of the wristbands is critical for best effect!
Want more information on naturopathic first aid for the home? Book an appointment with one of our ND’s!