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Understand SPF and Sun Block

Written by Lisa Jillanza

In the News

sunblock

According to an About.com report, SPF is actually determined indoors by exposing human subjects to a light spectrum to determine how the light affects their skin.

The study said that sunscreen with an SPF of 15 filters 92 percent of UVB rays.  In other words, a sunscreen with a SPF of 15, will “delay the onset of sunburn in a person who would otherwise burn in 10 minutes to burn in 150 minutes. The SPF allows a person to stay out in the sun 15 times longer.”

Unfortunately there is currently no measure of UVA absorption that has been determined.  Most sunscreens offer protection from UVA and UVB rays, although the time factor that a person can stay out in the sun and not be affected by UVA rays cannot be determined like that of UVB rays.

Either way, it is extremely important to wear sunscreen of at least a SPF of 15 when you are outdoors and reapply every two- to three hours.

Summer 101: Avoid Pesky Bugs

Written by Lisa Jillanza

pesky bugs

Just like we have been cooped up all winter, many insects have been cooped up, too.  But now they are making their appearance known.  Researchers suggest that the best way to deal with insect bites and stings is to prevent them before they happen:

  • Apply repellents to exposed skin. Do not apply repellents directly to your face, instead spray the repellent into your hands and apply to your face that way.
  • Wear shoes when walking around outdoors.  Avoid going barefoot whenever possible.
  • Do not swat or attempt to hit a flying insect.  This will only make them mad and attack you more frequently.
  • Avoid bright colored clothes when you are outdoors for extended periods of time as insects are attracted to bright colors.
  • Try not to wear heavy smelling perfumes outdoors as insects are also attracted to the smells.

Biggest Sunscreen Mistakes

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Healthy Living

We all know that we should be wearing sunscreen now that the sunny days of summer are here, but do you know what you are doing wrong with that sunscreen? Here are the biggest mistakes we are making when it comes to sunscreen.

sunscreen

  • You wait until you are outside to apply your sunscreen. : According to experts, you should apply your sunscreen at least 30 minutes prior to going out in the sun.  That way it has time to absorb into your skin, plus you won't get those harmful UV rays during those crucial minutes when you are first in the sun.
  • You apply your sunscreen around your clothes and/or swim gear. : If you are applying your sunscreen around your clothes or swimsuit then you may be missing parts of your body because you are worried about getting the lotion on your clothes or swimsuit. It's best to apply your sunscreen when you are naked and you can better make sure that you aren't missing any important spots.
  • You think you are safe indoors or in a car. : Driving can be a major source of incidental sun exposure. Windows and windshields block out UVB rays, but UVA rays can still seep in and those rays are on the spectrum that can cause the most skin aging and skin cancer.
  • You miss other important areas. : According to experts, the most common areas missed are: the toes and feet including the bottom of the feet, underarms, back of the neck and under the hairline, ears and especially the tops of your ears, eyelids and inner upper arms.  Sunscreen should be everywhere as the sun doesn't discriminate.
  • You sweat or rinse it all off. : Be sure to read your sunscreen label and make sure you are choosing the correct sunscreen for the activity you will be participating in : like swimming or working out outdoors.  Make sure you choose a water-resistant lotion for swimming or activities where you may be sweating a lot.

Plants to Avoid this spring

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Healthy Living

Plants to Avoid

Spring is finally here! After a long and cold winter, everyone is in their glory with the sunshine and warm weather.

However, coming hand-in-hand with the blooming season is some people's dreaded seasonal nightmare: hay fever.

One of the best plans of action for fighting spring allergies is to avoid the things that make your sneezing, itching and watering eyes worse.  Warren V. Filley, M.D., a spokesperson for the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, recently told www.health.com which plants you should avoid.

  • Ragweed : It is common along riverbanks and in rural areas. Dr. Filley says that almost 75 percent of people with allergies are sensitive to ragweed.

Mountain cedar :This tree is commonly found in mountainous regions and, according to Dr. Filley, causes some of the “most severe allergy symptoms I have ever seen.”

  • Maple : These trees are found along streams and in woods all through the eastern United States and Canada. The maple produces potent allergens.
  • Elm : Common in the wetlands, these trees will most likely aggravate your allergies.
  •  Mulberry : This pretty tree can be very deceiving. Found in woods and river valleys, it is often associated with contributing to hay fever.
  • Pecan : Although it makes many good desserts, the pollen from pecan : found in woods and orchards : is second only to ragweed as the most severe source of allergens.
  • Oak : It may have less potent pollen, but it produces very large quantities of it, Dr. Filley says. Avoid the woods just for this one.

Mold : Allergies acting up in the spring could be because of mold levels rising with wetter, warmer air.  Dr. Filley contributes various types of molds to producing significant allergy symptoms throughout the United States.

What the “Toes” Know

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Healthy Living

What the toes knows

As odd as it may seem, your feet may be the window to your overall body health. Here are some things to look for regarding your feet that will give you clues that there may be other important body issues to look into.

Thick, yellow toenails - Toenails are not supposed to be thick and/or yellow.  Thick, yellow nails are most often an indication of a fungal infection living beneath your toenails.  People that have other medical conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and other immune deficiencies are more likely to get a fungal infection than those that do not have these conditions.  To treat thick, yellow toenails, you will need to consult a podiatrist.  While there are plenty of over-the-counter treatments for thick, yellow toenails, by the time your nails are already discolored and thick it is too late for any over-the-counter creams or medicines to work. You must discuss your options with a professional.

No hair on your feet or toes : If your feet or toes are lacking hair, it can be a sign of having poor circulation because of vascular disease.  If you notice that your feet and toes do not have any hair on them, you will want to consult your doctor to find out ways to improve your circulation thereby reducing your risk of acquiring vascular disease.

A wound that won't heal on your foot : Wounds on your feet that just won't heal could be an indication of diabetes.  Over time, elevated blood glucose levels can lead to serious nerve damage in your feet and because of this damage you may not feel when you have a sore or a wound on your foot.  If your wound continues to go unhealed there could be major problems, including amputation.  If you notice a wound that won't heal on your feet be sure to contact your doctor to discuss your wound.  If you are currently living with or being treated for diabetes, be sure to check your feet often and mark any changes.