The Good Doc­tor says play it safe when spend­ing time in the sum­mer sun

The Willow Grove Guide - - OPINION -

Our sun is not a friendly ob­ject dur­ing the sum­mer. It gives us trou­ble on our out­side and in­side.

In the win­ter months, the sun lets us know it is cold so we go in­side to get warm or add a thicker jacket and hat. In the sum­mer, we find out that the heat and dry air are caus­ing prob­lems but by the time we find out, the dam­age has al­ready been done.

The sun is gi­gan­tic. A mil­lion Earths could fit in­side it and, sur­pris­ingly, Earth is closer to the sun in win­ter than in sum­mer.

How­ever, the sun causes most of its mis­chief dur­ing our hottest sea­son. It makes us rush to eat food at pic­nics be­fore it in­fects us; the danger­ous sun en­cour­ages us to put on sun­screen and avoid those harm­ful ul­tra­vi­o­let rays, and dry­ness of the mouth warns us to drink enough flu­ids be­fore our body tem­per­a­ture brings us near death.

Sun­screen agents should be ap­plied 15 min­utes be­fore go­ing out in the sun and reap­plied ev­ery two hours. In­fants un­der age 6 months should not be in the sun at the beach or pool.

Stud­ies have shown that up to 80 per­cent of ul­tra­vi­o­let rays get through the clouds and can cause a burn and prob­a­bly a deadly form of skin can­cer, melanoma. Too of­ten, a par­ent gets busy at the beach or pool and as­sumes one ap­pli­ca­tion of sun­screen will pro­tect the child all day.

In the sum­mer,when it’s hot, heatre­lated ill­nesses are com­mon. Th­ese can hap­pen even when do­ing lit­tle phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity. Be­tween 1999 and 2003, more than 3,000 deaths oc­curred in the United States from ex­po­sure to ex­treme heat. The prob­lems oc­cur from an in­abil­ity to sweat or low salt lev­els.

The most danger­ous is heat stroke which shows symp­toms of dizzi­ness, light-head­ed­ness and faint­ing. In heat stroke the body tem­per­a­ture rises above 104 de­grees. This is a med­i­cal emer­gency re­quir­ing a call for an am­bu­lance.

In heat ex­haus­tion, the per­son may have clammy skin, ex­ces­sive sweat­ing and too much loss of wa­ter and sweat. Peo­ple get heat cramps when their salt level is low. This causes mus­cle spasms of the arms, legs or ab­domen. The mus­cle cramps can af­fect the heart.

High tem­per­a­tures and hu­mid­ity in­ter­fere with the per­son’s abil­ity to sweat. Any of th­ese prob­lems can af­fect older adults, young chil­dren and peo­ple with chronic med­i­cal dis­eases.

ko one with a heat and hu­mid­ity prob­lem should drink al­co­hol or swal­low medicine con­tain­ing caf­feine. It’s al­ways best to get pro­fes­sional help by call­ing for med­i­cal ad­vice.

Peo­ple who go to a pic­nic or camp­ing should prac­tice food safety. Plan to wash hands with run­ning wa­ter or a hand san­i­tizer. Al­ways wash fruits and veg­eta­bles be­fore pre­par­ing them. Fish and eggs should be eaten as soon as pos­si­ble. Take a meat ther­mome­ter with you to be sure meat is heated to 160 de­grees and poul­try to 165 de­grees. Wash the meat ther­mome­ter and in­sert it into dif­fer­ent parts of a meat patty you might be serv­ing.

The list of danger­ous bac­te­ria is long. Many of the causative bac­te­ria can re­sult in se­ri­ous ill­nesses and even death, so don’t just eat at a pic­nic un­less the cook knows how to pre­pare foods.

Campy­lobac­ter may re­sult in bloody di­ar­rhea, fever and ab­dom­i­nal pain and av­er­ages 76 deaths a year. Sal­mo­nella ill­ness of­ten oc­curs from eat­ing un­der­cooked eggs or poul­try. E. coli has been the source of 25,000 cases a year of in­fec­tions.,Lis­te­ria 1,600.

Sum­mer should be a fun sea­son. Have re­spect for the sun.

Dr.mil­ton Fried­man

Health& Science

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