Safety tips for spring breakers
Spring break has finally arrived. A time when people escape the cold and flock to warmer parts of the country to soak in some sun and take a break from school, work and winter weather.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has five reminders to ensure a safe and enjoyable spring break this year:
- Sun safety
Many may be hitting the beach and want to have a tan complexion before they get there. But the FDA warns to beware of tanning beds and spray tans due to tanning beds emitting ultraviolet radiation which can be more harmful than the sun and spray tans don’t provide any protection from sun rays. The FDA advises to wear sunscreens with SPF of 15 or higher and limit skin exposure to strong sunlight; advisable times are between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Dr. Suleman Bangash, skin cancer Mohs surgeon and dermatologist on staff at Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin, Ill., says studies have shown that people who participate in indoor tanning have higher rates of skin cancer. “In my practice, I am seeing younger individuals being diagnosed with skin cancer,” Dr. Bangash says. “I have a patient who was a frequent indoor tanner and she was diagnosed with melanoma in her early 20s. Her skin cancer was directly attributed to indoor tanning.”
- Plan ahead with medication
The FDA says to be sure you are aware of any potential side effects of your medications. Keep track of your daily doses just in case medical attention is needed and always stick to your regimen and do not share medications.
- Take care with contacts
Always wash your hands before touching contact lenses, the FDA advises. Never use anything other than sterile solution to clean your lenses. The FDA recommends removing contacts before swimming, as non-sterile water can put you at risk for dangerous eye infections.
- Hesitate before henna or tattoos
The FDA says, “Think before you ink!” Tattoos can put a person at risk for HIV or hepatitis from unsterile tools or practices. The FDA doesn’t regulate tattoo parlors and hasn’t approved any ink for injecting into the skin. Beware of henna as many cases of serious allergic reactions have been reported.
- Hydrate and Eat Healthy
Be sure to stay hydrated. Spending long days in the sun, the FDA says it’s important to drink water constantly. Make sure the tap water that is available to you is safe to drink or use bottled water from a store. Senior nutrition advisor with the FDA, Shirley R. Blakely, PhD, RD, recommends bringing water with you and to drink even when you are not thirsty.Blakely also reminds spring breakers to load up on fruits, veggies and proteins at mealtime to maintain a healthy diet.
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