Have fun in the sun and water with these safety tips

Carilion Clinic dermatologist and Kirk Family YMCA aquatics manager share some expert advice

Skin care protection tips
Skin care protection tips

ROANOKE, Va. – You and your family may want to soak up the sun this weekend and all the warm weekends to follow.

But before you just spend a full day outside, you’ll want to make sure your skin is protected.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, but it’s also one of the most preventable, according to the CDC.

When it comes to protection, sunscreen is a lot of people’s go-to; however, Dr. Joshua Eikenberg, M.P.H. at Carilion Clinic said while people use it, they make two major mistakes. They don’t put on enough in the first place and the forget to re-apply.

Here are his recommendations:

  • Use at least 30 sun protection factor (SPF), which is 97% protection
  • The amount of sunscreen you put on should be about two tablespoons
  • Re-apply immediately after you get done being in the water or sweat a lot
  • Sun protective clothing can be used instead of sunscreen and is helpful if you have a hard time of remember to reapply sunscreen
  • Wear a wide brim hat, it covers areas popular for skin cancer like the back of your neck and ears
  • Don’t go tanning to create a base tan because it’s not good for your skin and doesn’t protect you from the sun
  • Avoid going out for long periods of time during peak sun hours

“So when are the peak hours of activity? Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and a good rule of thumb is the time you do go outside is when your shadow is longer than you are tall,” said Dr. Eikenburg.

We have more pointers for you here.

Staying safe in the pool this summer
Staying safe in the pool this summer

With the weather warming up, a trip to the pool, lake or beach may be in your future.

Keep in mind that in Virginia, drowning is the leading cause of death and injury for kids ages 1 to 4, according to VDH.

Matthew Reedy, the aquatics manager at the Kirk Family YMCA in Roanoke, said the key to saving a life in the water is what you do before even heading to that beach, pool or lake.

There are many things Reedy suggests you consider.

  • Where are you going to swim? Is it a designated area for swimmers
    • Do you see buoys, if so don’t swim past those
    • Lookout for signs telling you where not to swim
  • Swim during the day with another adult who can swim
  • If there’s no lifeguard, pick someone out of your group or family to be a water watcher
  • Bring your own life vest and flotation device that doesn’t rely on air, like a noodle
  • Take swim lessons

For additional tips and information, click here.

Reedy said the most important preventable measure to drowning is swim lessons for adults and kids.

“Don’t just keep them (kids) in for three months, keep them in for six to eight months. And realize even then after some lessons have occurred, there’s no such thing as water-safe so even if they’ve had lessons, yes they’re 88% less likely to experience drowning, you still need to watch them,” said Reedy.

The Kirk Family Y is hosting a Memorial Day Swim Clinic on that Monday for kids ages five and up. It features lessons, free swim time, games and themed crafts. If interested, email mreedy@ymcavbr.org or call 540-342-9622.

On June 17, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. YMCA VBR is also participating in the World’s Largest Swim Lesson campaign. For details click here.


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