Sun Safety: Protection is key for fun in the sun

Fifteen minutes. According to the Center for Disease Control, that’s all it takes for the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays to damage your skin. When you’re on having fun outside, 15 minutes goes by quickly. It feels great to soak up those rays, but they are harming your skin and are putting you at risk for long-term skin damage and worse, skin cancer. Before you head out into the sun for the day, take some time and precautions to keep yourself and your family safe all season long, and you’ll be golden for some fun in the sun!

USE SUNSCREEN
It’s one of the easiest ways to prevent skin cancer. Look for a sunscreen with broad spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB, an SPF of at least 30, and water resistant. When applying sunscreen, more is more. You want to be sure to get a thick layer of sunscreen on your skin in order for the SPF to do its job. For an average size person, remember the teaspoon rule, and adjust for all ages and body types: 1 teaspoon to the face/neck/scalp1 teaspoon for each arm1 teaspoon to the chest and abdomen, 1 teaspoon to the back, 2 teaspoons for each leg.

Sunblock lotions are the preferred choice, but if you are using a spray sunscreen, apply outside by holding the bottle close to the skin and spray on each area for approximately 6 seconds, or until the sunscreen is visible on the skin (typically, when it looks white). Then, rub it in. Don’t apply spray sunscreen directly to the face. Instead, spray generously into your hand and apply to your face as you would a lotion. Don’t forget to apply a lip balm with an SPF of 30, too!

Sunscreen will wear off throughout the day. Be sure to reapply every two hours and following exposure to water or sweat.

If you’re avoiding sunscreen because you don’t like how it feels on your skin or you had an allergic reaction, try another type or brand. There are a variety of choices by a variety of brands, so if you aren’t happy with one, try another until you find one that works with your skin. You may want to make an appointment with your primary care provider or dermatologist to discuss your individual needs. After all, the best sunscreen is the one you will wear!

AVOID EXPOSURE BETWEEN 10 AM AND 4 PM
Have you heard of the shadow rule? If your shadow is shorten than you are in real life, the sun’s rays are strong. During this time, you should avoid exposure or follow precautions to protect yourself and your family. For our region in the Midwest, the sun is most intense from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., so you’ll want to be the most vigilante in protecting your skin during this time.

USE SUNGLASSES
Your eyes will absorb those harmful rays much like your skin does. Look for sunglasses that block and absorb UVA and UVB light. The lenses should fit close to the skin and be large enough to cover your eyes and the surrounding areas. The bigger the better! Polarized lenses will help eliminate glare, which is great for driving or days in the water or snow.

DRINK MORE WATER
When you’re sweating, you are losing water. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially in hot weather to keep dehydration at bay. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty. Also, look for signs of heat exhaustion such as; feeling overheated, tired or weak. Nausea, headaches and dizziness are also indications that it’s time to get out of the sun, cool down and drink some water. Heat stroke is a more serious condition. If you or someone in your family stops sweating, has red and/or hot skin, a high temperature, confusion or is suddenly uncoordinated, seek medical attention right away.

GO LONG!: WEAR PROTECTIVE CLOTHING
Long-sleeved shirts and long pants provide an extra layer of protection while spending time out in the sun. Look for clothing made with tightly woven fabrics. Those linen pants aren’t going to protect you from the sun, so be sure to wear sunscreen underneath. When playing the water, look for bathing suits that feature a sun shirt, especially for little ones.

HATS OFF ON!: WEAR A BROAD RIMMED HAT
Wearing a hat with a full brim is a great way to protect the scalp, ears, face and neck from exposure to the sun’s UV rays. Tightly woven fabric is the key to a good hat, straw hats are cute, but don’t provide the protection you need. When purchasing sun hats for the family, be sure to pick the correct sizes for each person. Kids will pull off a hat that slips down over their eyes.Seek the shade & avoid direct sunlight

Trees or shelters block the sun’s UV rays and provide ultimate protection. Seek out these spaces when spending time outdoors to help protect yourself and your family from painful sunburns and help reduce the risk of skin cancer. When you can’t find shade, make it! Invest in a beach umbrella or tent to shield your family from the sunlight.

BE CAUTIOUS OF REFLECTIONS
Your exposure to the sun’s rays increases when the sun shines onto and reflects off of bright surfaces, like water, sand or house paint, for example. When spending time near a reflective surface, ensure everyone is sporting sunglasses and sunscreen or protective clothing are being used consistently.

TANNING
Don’t. Tan skin is damaged skin and the impact can last or even shorten a lifetime. Tanning should not be part of a beauty regiment at any point in a person’s life.

PROTECTION 365 DAYS
Skin cancer prevention is not seasonal. Sure, we wear less clothing and spend more time outside in the sun’s rays during the summer months, but protection from those rays is just as important during the winter months. UV rays reflect off snow just as they do off of sand, water and concrete. Apply sunscreen to the face and any other exposed skin, wear sunglasses and lip balm every day. When it comes to sun safety, there’s a lot of information to soak in. Download this handy checklist and keep it in your beach bag to help ensure you and your family are covered for summer skin protection.

Sun Safety Checklist

For questions concerning dangers to your skin from the sun, consult with your dermatologist.


Did you kow you can schedule video appointments with your providers?

Originally published July 2019

An open letter to the communities we serve.

Who could have imagined the struggles that all of us would encounter from this unprecedented global pandemic? Not only has it brought our state and country great economic stress, but it also has changed how healthcare services will be delivered forevermore.

Early in the crisis, IHA’s healthcare providers and staff took multiple steps to help our community respond to the pandemic. Within a matter of days, our medical group opened drive-thru testing sites, implemented a free on-line COVID screening tool, and designated locations where patients with fevers and upper respiratory symptoms could be treated. Additionally, we rolled-out video appointments for all our patients and began piloting home care visits for our most vulnerable patients.

These are complicated times with rapidly changing standards, which is why IHA has been providing regular updates to our staff and providers, as well as our patients. In a matter of weeks, IHA has addressed the most significant and complex changes to face healthcare in our lifetime, but we are not done. We are moving toward what many are calling the “new normal.”

Staying safe in the “new normal”.
Video appointments continue to be our primary method used to treat patients. Since launching this service just a few weeks ago, we have
completed nearly 25,000 video appointments. The decline in new COVID cases is enabling IHA to reconnect in-person with patients whose
appointments, surgeries or outpatient procedures were cancelled. Over the next two weeks, our physicians and practitioners will slowly increase the number of in-person appointments they offer and surgeries they perform. As we reopen more offces, we want to assure you that we are committed to being both responsive and responsible, navigating these unusual times with everyone’s safety in mind.

Numerous safeguards and quality measures are in place across IHA to care for COVID and Non-COVID patients. These include our use of telehealth visits which are actively being embraced by our patients and our providers alike.

IHA is following CDC guidelines and has put additional cleaning and screening processes in place to keep anyone entering an IHA building
safe. These processes include requiring all staff and patients to wear masks and having their temperature checked before entering a practice. Along with maintaining appropriate social distancing, items such as hand sanitizer and tissues will be prominent in every location.

Saving lives, improving quality of life.

Our difficult journey is not over, but we must look to the future. Children need to maintain their immunization schedules, older adults or those with complex medical issues need their health and medications regularly monitored, and further delaying surgeries or exploratory procedures may cause serious harm or lead to other health problems. The steps we are following to reopen are being implemented with extreme care and will be constantly evaluated. As a member of Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, we are working together on safety and security protocols. We have developed COVID-Free Zones, areas where we provide care only for people not known to have COVID-19 or COVID symptoms. We wish to assure the community that our healthcare delivery system is working closer than ever to keep your health and wellness at the center of everything.

Over the past two months, no one industry has learned more than healthcare about the need to change and adapt quickly in order to
care for those we serve. Our lives have drastically changed but fulfilling IHA’s mission of healing will remain with us forever. Please know that we stand ready to care for you. IHA’s motto “our family caring for yours” has never meant more to us than it does today.

We encourage you to call your provider’s office or visit ihacares.com today to learn about the many ways we can connect and safely provide the care that you need. IHA is here for you.

Mark LePage, MD | IHA CEO

Cindy Elliott, RN | IHA President & COO

Coping with Stress

Helpful reminders for when you feel stressed

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Even the most laid back, easy-going people feel stressed sometimes. And considering our current situation, a pandemic and all, stress pretty much goes with the territory. Luckily, the CDC has some important reminders to help manage stress and support yourself.

Take breaks from watching, reading or listening to the news.

The news is everywhere, it’s so hard to escape. If your stress levels are up, then an escape may be just what you need.  Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.

Take care of your body.

When you feel like stress is taking over, take deep breaths, stretch or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and avoid alcohol and drugs.

Make time to unwind.

Make a list of the things you enjoy most. What can you do right now? What can you plan to do in the future, to help give you something to look forward to? If you’re a person that creates a daily schedule, include some time to do what makes you happy. You may also try setting an alarm or reminder on your digital calendar to stop and take a few minutes for yourself.

Connect with Others.

Consider who you trust in your life. Who do you think would best understand your current concerns? Seek out people in your life that can help you navigate stressful feelings and lighten your load. With social distancing rules currently in place, you may need to be creative in how you connect with others, phone and video calls work great!

Know when it’s time to seek medical care.

If your stress is keeping you from your daily activities or social interactions, reach out to your healthcare provider. They will be able to help you find a solution and get you feeling like yourself again!