Keep Safe This Summer With Sunscreen

Summertime is officially here!  Pools are open, boats are in the lake and people everywhere are having fun in the sun.  While summer is a great time of year to be outside, it is also important to remember to wear sunscreen and to keep hydrated.  Sometimes picking the right sunscreen can be daunting.  There are various types of SPF numbers and ones that say broad spectrum and water proof, etc.  What does SPF stand for and mean anyway?  SPF stand for sun protection factor and the higher the number the better protection against the suns UV rays. 

In most cases one should pick at least a sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher.  A sunscreen that is SPF 30 will block 97% of UVA and UVB rays.  SPF 50 blocks 98% and SPF 100 blocks 99%.  No sunscreen is 100% effective in blocking the sun’s harmful rays.  When looking for a sunscreen you also want to make sure you choose one that is broad spectrum.  This means that it will protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays.  The peak hours of the sun are usually from around 10 in the morning to 4 in the evening.  During those hours especially, you should make sure to apply sunscreen at least every couple of hours and maybe more if you are in the water.  Also during those peak hours, if you can, you should try to stay in the shade or wear a protective hat or clothing. 

Staying hydrated is also very important during the hot summer days.  Make sure you are drinking plenty of water to keep your body well hydrated.  Soda, coffee and tea are not substitutes for water as they contain caffeine and can actually worsen dehydration.  Signs of dehydration can include being thirsty, decreased urine output, fatigue, headache, and/or dry mouth.  If dehydration gets too severe it can lead to low blood pressure, increased heart rate, seizures or a coma.   It is important to seek medical attention if these symptoms occur.

For more questions feel free to ask your physician or pharmacist!  Remember to wear your sunscreen, stay hydrated and have some fun this summer!

May is Stroke Awareness Month

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association are raising awareness about one of the leading causes of death in the US—stroke. Did you know that stroke is ranked fifth in leading cause of death in the US?

Recent data shows that stroke mortality has climbed 3 percent and now affects 795,000 individuals annually (that’s one person every 40 seconds). That’s a life claimed every four minutes.

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it needs, so brain cells die. The death of cells causes the portion of the body affected to not function as it should. Nearly 2 million brain cells die each minute a stroke goes untreated, it remains a leading cause of disability and preventable disability nationally.

Eighty percent of strokes can be prevented through lifestyle changes such as managing blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar, as well as being active, eating better, losing weight, starting an aspirin regimen and giving up smoking. (Current smokers have two to four times the stroke risk of nonsmokers or those who quit more than 10 years ago.)

If you’re like most Americans, you don’t know the signs of stroke. Teaching people how to recognize a stroke and respond quickly is a primary goal of the American Stroke Association’s Together to End Stroke initiative.

F.A.S.T. is:

  • F - Face Drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
  • A - Arm Weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • S - Speech Difficulty: Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence like, “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
  • T - Time to call 9-1-1: If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.

 Additional stroke signs include: sudden severe headache with no known cause; sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination or difficulty walking; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; or sudden confusion or trouble understanding.

 Anyone experiencing some or all of these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention, even if the symptoms go away. Timing is crucial, some treatments can only be considered within 4½ hours of the onset of symptoms.

If you are alone and concerned that you might be having a stroke, call 911!

For more information go to www.heart.org or speak with your local pharmacist or physician.