How to Safely Have Fun in the Sun this 4th of July Weekend

happy 4thIn spite of the tense political scene, Americans will eagerly celebrate our nation’s birthday.  Picnics and fireworks rank high on the agenda. In the midst of all the fun, don’t forget to take the following safety precautions to ensure your holiday weekend stays safe and accident-free.

Sunscreen Essentials

Consistently using sunscreen will protect your skin from ultraviolet radiation, which proves especially important during the summer months. Faced with so many options, however, just picking a bottle off the shelf can feel impossible.  When you compare types of sunscreen, try taking a look at the ingredients.  Sunscreens with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide tend to be gentler on those who have sensitive skin—specifically children.  If you have dry skin, try a sunscreen that includes a moisturizer such as lanolin or a type of oil.  When it comes to choosing the right SPF, keep in mind that SPF 15 blocks approximately 94% of UV rays, SPF 30 blocks a few percent more, and SPF 45 can block up to 98%.  Unfortunately, nothing blocks 100% of the sun’s rays, so anything beyond SPF 45 may not add any additional protection.

Staying Hydrated                                                                 

While exposed to extra heat and the sun, our whole body takes a hit in the hydration department.  Most of the time, drinking water before, during, and after spending time in the sun will do the trick.  But any time you exercise in extreme heat for an hour or more, try supplementing water with a sports drink that contains electrolytes.  Keep in mind that a variety of fluids other than water help as well.  Soup, juice, and tea can all contribute to your overall level of hydration—and while alcohol might be part of your fun, it produces the opposite effect.

Mastering the Grill

Nothing signifies the 4th of July like outdoor picnics or barbecues, surrounded by family, friends, and fun.  If you do plan use an outdoor grill, these safety tips may come in handy.  First of all, make sure the grill stays at least 10 feet away from any part of the house, and farther is even better.   While the grill is lit, don’t ever leave it unattended, and keep a spray bottle of water available at all times.  If you’re using charcoal, make sure you have completely extinguished the coals before packing up and heading home.

As you celebrate the holiday weekend, join imatters in remembering what makes America great and celebrate our “land of the free.”  Have your kind of fun and be safe.



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