New Castle News

Healthy Living: Lori Brothers

July 4, 2012

Lori Brothers: Goin’ outside? Protect yourself from sun

NEW CASTLE — Happy Fourth of July!

I love the excitement and atmosphere that this holiday generates each year. The excitement and anticipation of the yearly fireworks displays around American communities is delightful.

For years, my friends and family have headed out early to get a spot on the hill. I’m sure a lot of people do this all over the United States for their annual fireworks events. Put the blankets down to reserve a spot. Pass around the snacks, and wait for the big event. The fact that we have to wait until dark just heightens the suspense!

As we move into summer, we tend to get a lot more sun exposure. That is why July is UV Safety Month. UV (ultra-violet) light comes from the energy that is radiating from the sun. Too much exposure to these rays can be harmful to your skin and your eyes.

We’ve all had that unfortunate and often painful experience of getting a sunburn. This is the most common kind of skin damage from over-exposure to UV rays. Too much over-exposure can lead to skin cancer. Whether you are at the beach, barbecue parties or ball games, remember skin and eye protection.

The American Academy of Dermatology picked July to bring awareness to this important health concern because July is one of the hottest and sunniest months of the year. However, sun screen should be available when you are outside all year around. Those harmful rays actually become intensified if they are reflected off of water or sand — even when reflected off the snow or concrete. So remember to use sun screen all year around.

Even if it is hazy or overcast, UV rays should still be a concern if you are outside for more that 20 minutes. The newest recommendation is to use a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 to all exposed areas of skin.

A wide-brimmed hat is also a good way to combat the harmful rays of the sun – for both men and women. Good luck keeping a hat on kids, unless they’re like my kids, who were very into softball.

When it comes to sunglasses, more expensive ones aren’t any better than cheaper ones, as long as they block out 99 to 100 percent of the UV rays.

The best things to include in your diet to protect your skin is foods that are high in anti-oxidants, including broccoli, kale, cabbage, oranges and lemons. Also switch to iced tea (green tea is the best) to get those polyphenols to prevent damage to cells.

As many of you may know, The New Castle Fireworks Festival event is July 14. The Jameson Junior Guild, along with The Dean Ornish Program For Reversing Heart Disease, is sponsoring our second annual Run For Your Heart Fireworks Day Race/Walk.

Led by race coordinator Doug Petrik, the event will kick off with our very special Ornish Mile. Dean Ornish participants, past and present, will walk a literal and symbolic mile to signify their success in making lifestyle changes that, in many cases, has improved and saved their lives.

The Ornish Mile kicks off at 8:30 a.m. The 5/K walk/run and 10K race will begin at 9 a.m. The entire event begins and ends at the Jameson South Campus. The participants will follow a course through downtown New Castle.

For more info, or if you would like to participate as a walker or volunteer, you can call me at (724) 656-4660 or Cydee Adamo at (724) 656-4112 , or go to www.jamesonhealthsystem.org.

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Healthy Living: Lori Brothers
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