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Summer Sun Safety Tips

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

We’ve still got several more weeks left of summer sun. Are you taking steps to make sure your family and friends remain sun-safe? Whether you are boating, swimming, lying out in the sun or barbecuing in the backyard, it’s important to understand the dangers of unprotected exposure to the elements. There are lots of consequences for excessive sun exposure—sunburn, premature aging of the skin and skin cancer, to name a few.

In the Continental United States, the most dangerous time of the day to go outdoors is between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Harmful UV rays damage the skin. So if you are going to spend any time outside this summer, use sunscreen with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of at least 15. Also, make sure the product you buy provides protection from UVA and UVB rays. Ultraviolet radiation is composed of three wavelengths: UVA, UVB and UVC. While UVC isn’t a concern for skin cancer, UVA and UVB play different roles when it comes to tanning, burning and aging.

The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that: “With the ongoing debate about the best way to get Vitamin D and the controversy surrounding tanning beds, there is a huge amount of misinformation surrounding ultraviolet radiation (UV). However, one thing is clear: UV radiation is the main factor responsible for skin cancers, including Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC), Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) and possibly Melanoma. In fact, the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization have identified broad spectrum UV as a human carcinogen.”

While the differences between UVB and UVA need to be further explored, exposure to the combination of UVB and UVA is a proven, powerful attack on the skin. It can create irreversible damage that ranges from sunburn to premature aging to skin cancer. So protection from these rays is the only way to avoid a myriad of problems.

Did you know that even if you’re using a high-quality sunscreen, you may not be out of the woods? Sunscreen washes off in water and wears off even if you are just lying in the sun. What’s more, every bottle has an expiration date. So be careful to keep your eye on the pull-date so you won’t use inert lotion. The standard shelf life for lotions and creams is three years. But sunscreen can wear out sooner if it is exposed to high temperatures.

Another way to protect your skin is to wear appropriate clothing. Your best bet for sun protection is a lightweight long sleeve shirt and long sleeve pants made from a tightly woven fabric. Research shows that darker colors may provide more protection than lighter ones. A standard, dry T-shirt provides an SPF lower than 15. A better choice altogether is sun-protective clothing.

Hats offer important sun protection. Choose one with a wide brim to shade your face, ears, neck and forehead. For sun safety, the CDC recommends hats or visors made from tightly woven fabric such as canvas. Avoid straw hats which may allow light to filter through. In general, darker hats offer more protection than their lighter colored counterparts.

Another important item for sun safety is a good pair of sunglasses. Sunglasses protect eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts. For optimum protection, find a pair that wrap around and offer 100% UV protection. When all else fails and you find yourself unprotected in the sun, head for the shade! Whether you find it with an umbrella or under a tree or the eaves of a building, take cover.

And no matter how much you love the look of tan skin, avoid indoor tanning beds. Indoor tanning has been linked with skin cancers including Melanoma (the deadliest type of skin cancer), Squamous Cell Carcinoma, and cancers of the eye (ocular melanoma). Indoor tanning also causes premature skin aging such as wrinkles and age spots.

When a disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. The Allied Universal Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services is a convenient and affordable solution to all of the training needs of your building(s). Choosing our service cuts property management training related workloads by 90% and saves you over 50% compared to conventional training! More importantly, IT SAVES LIVES.

Keeping Your Cool – Staying Healthy During a Heat Wave

Monday, July 18th, 2011
bright sun beating on a city

To BE SAFE, prepare for heat waves.

Severe heat waves are not merely a nuisance and a boon for the power company. Extreme heat can cause heat stroke—a serious medical condition that can be deadly, especially for the very young and the elderly. Some summers, such as the summer of 2006, bring on extremely severe temperature highs that can damage buildings and roads and even kill.

The old adage: “It’s the heat, not the humidity” proves to be very true in a heat wave. Humidity is debilitating because sweat doesn’t readily evaporate from skin since the surrounding air already contains so much moisture. This is a big reason why air conditioning feels so good…because it reduces the level of humidity.

To manage a heat wave, it’s important to help your body stay cool. One of the best ways to do this is to limit outdoor activities.

Tips for keeping cool in the summer sun:

  • Wear sunscreen, even on overcast days. If your skin gets red from too much heat, you are suffering from sunburn, which will leave you feeling hot and uncomfortable and can lead to permanent damage to the skin.
  • Drink plenty of cold liquids, avoiding alcohol and caffeinated beverages, which can actually dehydrate instead of hydrate you.
  • Shade is your friend. Shady areas can be up to 15 degrees cooler than their sunny counterparts, and will help regulate your body temperature.
  • Take it easy! The middle of a heat wave is the not the ideal time to take up jogging or another form of strenuous outdoor activity.
  • Wear light, loose-fitting clothing to allow your body to expel excess heat. Some people have a difficult time monitoring their own body temperature and might tend to overdress for the conditions.
  • Eat small meals. It’s necessary for your core temperature to rises in order to digest big meals. Focus on frequency instead of quantity.

Identify and manage heat stroke:

  • Body temperatures measure over 105.1 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Dry skin, rapid pulse and disorientation are all symptoms.
  • For severe cases, immersion in cool (but not cold) water is recommended.
  • Hydration is very important, including use of either cool water or intravenous fluids if the victim is unable to drink.
  • To stave off heat stroke, drink before you start to feel thirsty.
  • Administer first aid to heat stroke victims until their temperature falls in a safe range (101-102 degrees).

Help your family to beat the heat:

  • Get out of the city! Urban areas are heat islands, where the temperatures remain warm even throughout the night. Cities also trap pollutants during heat waves. So plan a trip to a more rural area to escape summer crowds and heat.
  • If you travel to a warm climate, make sure your accommodations and vehicle feature air conditioning.
  • If your home does not have an air conditioning unit, consider going somewhere during the hottest part of the afternoon. Shopping malls, movie theaters and public libraries are all cool summer destinations.
  • Ceiling fans and standing fans don’t technically lower the temperature of a room, but they do create a “wind chill” effect where the body cools itself with a nice breeze.

If you are a building owner:

  • Test your air conditioning system to be sure it can handle the strain of prolonged usage. Clean filters will help the system run at optimal efficiency.
  • Implement the use of compact fluorescent bulbs instead of the heat-producing incandescent variety.
  • Consider adding inexpensive shade structure or fabric to cool outdoor patio areas.
  • When it’s time for new windows, install the tinted variety, which can drastically reduce the heat coming into a building.

Unlike other disasters, you can’t see the heat wave—you can just feel it. However, as with other disasters, preparation and common sense are your best tools for safely managing a heat wave. Keep a close eye on children and other loved ones to be sure they have ready access to resources and helpful information.

When a disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives.  For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact Allied Universal, Inc. Our new Version 2.0 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system with automated and integrated features. Visit rjwestmore.com for more information and remember to BE SAFE.