Tag Archives: outdoors

Sun Protection at Any Age

Vantage Point: Making Sense of Sun Protection

Hurray for warmer weather. I must say, I sure do love springtime and seeing all of our trees thriving and blooming. The color is coming back into our communities as the grass turns greener and people start hanging flowerpots on their patios. Although we are not quite in the summer season, the sun is making an appearance, which means summertime is near.

During the summertime, we all love to enjoy some time outdoors and enjoy the nice warm weather. Some of us like to go for a stroll around the park. Others might want to spend their time by the pool to cool off. I love doing that myself.

When getting ready for a pool day, I make sure to have everything I need by my side. I make sure I have my towels, snacks, water (to stay hydrated), and floatables for maximum relaxation. And the most important part of our pool day is having our sunscreen applied.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t always been great about applying sunscreen when being out under the sun, but the older I get, the more I realize how important it is to protect my skin. Since summer is near, I want to make sure I take the right precautions as my family and I spend time outdoors.

According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, “Sun protection is essential to skin cancer prevention – about 90% of non-melanoma skin cancers and about 86% of melanomas are associated with exposure to UV radiation from the sun.”

It’s very scary to think how high these statistics are when we’re all under the sun on a daily basis. Reading these statistics makes me think twice about if I really want to spend time out by the pool. How do I know what sunscreen is giving me the best protection?

The Skin Cancer Foundation can help with that too. “Most sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher do an excellent job of protecting against UVB. SPF or (Sun Protection Factor) is a measure of a sunscreen’s ability to prevent UVB from damaging the skin.” They also say that people who use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher on a daily basis show 24% less skin aging than those who don’t.

After getting more insight into skin care and sun damage I will definitely enjoy my time off outdoors cooling down, just with plenty of sunscreen. I’m ready for summer 2018!

Jessica Arroyo, born and raised in the Wenatchee Valley, is a Medicare community liaison for Health Alliance, serving Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan counties in Washington. During her time off, she enjoys spending time with her husband and infant son.

Hot Cocoa and Winter Health Risks

Long View: Cold Hands, Hot Cocoa

I always remember December from my childhood, when the weather got subzero, and the wind was playfully whipping snowflakes around. School was out for the holidays, and my sister and I always loved to play outdoors, despite the frigid temperatures.

We would come downstairs with our garb, and Mom would get us all bundled up to brave the weather. Snowsuits, scarves, hats, gloves, and boots were standard outerwear those days. My mom would secure the scarf so that it would stay put, and the hat would cover my ears and my forehead. When she was through, I could barely see and hardly move.

I remember stiffly walking out the door, hoping that with more movement, I would loosen up enough to enjoy some of the winter wonderland we called our yard. Hot cocoa would be waiting for us when we came in, and it was like magic what that cup of warmth could do!

Today, I run out of the house without a coat, hat, gloves, or scarf, thinking, I’m just going to the car, then running in to work. My days of bundling up are over. This is what happens when you go from 6 years old to 60. But honestly, what am I thinking?

Winter health risks should be a concern for our aging population. (Hey, that’s me too!) The most obvious risk is the weather itself. Midwestern winters can consist of ice and snow. Driving is a challenge. Walking is even more of a challenge. Slips on ice are a major risk, so it’s important to wear the right shoes or boots with good traction if you have to go out.  

Hypothermia is also a common winter weather health risk. Hypothermia means your body temperature has fallen below 95 degrees, and once it gets to that point for a prolonged period of time, you can’t produce enough energy to stay warm.

Symptoms include shivering, cold pale skin, lack of coordination, slowed reactions and breathing, and mental confusion. It’s good to pay attention to how cold it is where you are, whether it’s indoors or outdoors. Also, make sure you’re eating enough to keep up a healthy weight. Body fat helps you stay warm.

Frostbite is another health risk during the winter months. Frostbite means your skin has been over-exposed to cold temperatures, and it usually affects the nose, ears, cheeks, fingers, and toes. It can be severe and cause permanent damage to the skin, and even progress to the bone.

Frostbite can affect anyone who is exposed to below freezing temperatures, in particular, those who aren’t wearing the right clothing. It’s important to wear layers, preferably 2 to 3 layers of loose-fitting clothing, as well as a coat, hat, gloves, and a scarf. Covering up your nose and mouth will also protect your lungs from the cold air.

As for drinking a cup of hot cocoa, well, that is a winter weather health benefit! According to a study at Cornell University, hot cocoa has almost twice as many antioxidants as red wine, and 2 to 3 times more than green tea! This winter, enjoy the magic of the season by keeping yourself safe and warm.

Mervet Adams is a community liaison with Health Alliance. She loves her grandson, family, nature, and fashion.

Great Outdoors Month

Great Outdoors Month

June is Great Outdoors Month, which makes it the perfect time for you and your family to get moving outside.

National Trails Day was last weekend, but it’s never too late to start hiking.

It’s also National Fishing & Boating Week, so find ideas for getting out on the water.

Get Fishing Outside

 

Celebrate boating as a fun-filled activity that everyone can enjoy during National Marina Days.

Celebrate Bombing

 

The Great American Campout is going on all summer long, so pack up your gear and enjoy America’s nature.

The Great American Campout

 

Before you head out to the campgrounds, brush up on your camping safety.

Camping Safety

 

June 10 was National Get Outdoors Day, and you can find a fun family activity near you.

Get Moving in Nature

 

Kids to Parks Day was May 20, but you can still enjoy a park with your family.

Taking Your Kids to the Park

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National Lyme Disease Awareness Month

National Lyme Disease Awareness Month

It’s National Lyme Disease Awareness Month, and experts warn that this summer could be a bad one for ticks.

Tick Season 2017

 

If you spend a lot of time outdoors, you should know some of the ways Lyme disease can show up.

Tick Safety Outdoors

 

Wear long, snug clothing to protect you and light colors, which make it easier to see ticks, when you’re hiking.

Hiking Smart

 

You should change and wash your clothes immediately when you get home from hiking or camping in thick grass or wooded areas.

Avoiding Ticks with Your Clothing

 

Use repellent on your skin or clothing to deter ticks, and know where they like to hide, like hair, underarms, and inner legs.

Tick Repellent

 

Worried that you have Lyme disease? Fill out your symptoms and find out.

There are 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease each year, and only 50% of those people find a tick, so know what to do.

Preventing Lyme Disease

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Spring Cleaning Your Home

Spring Cleaning for National Cleaning Week

It’s National Cleaning Week and the perfect time for spring cleaning your life. And we can help!

Martha Stewart’s comprehensive spring-cleaning checklist can help you make a plan.

Spring Cleaning Checklist

 

Not a deep-cleaner? This Ultimate Spring Cleaning Guide can help you clean things you’ve never considered.

Deep-Cleaning Done Right

 

The kitchen is one place that needs lots of attention. These ideas can help you tackle it.

Hate cleaning? These spring-cleaning shortcuts can help speed up the process.

Speed Spring Cleaning Up

 

If doing a little a day will keep you motivated, this 30 days of spring cleaning guide is right for you.

A Little Cleaning Each Day

 

You might not think of cleaning outside your house, but it’s the perfect time before the weather heats up.

Tidying Outdoors

 

Take the time to clean things you’ve never thought of for a sparkling house.

Spring Clean Everything

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Picnic Party

Healthy Picnic Recipes

While you’re out at the parks, we had some healthy picnic recipes for you to make a day of it!

First up was a light take on potato salad that uses cauliflower instead of potato.

Recipe: Low-Carb Cauliflower ‘Potato’ Salad

 

This easy Cucumber Basil and Watermelon Salad is perfect to eat outdoors.

 

Whip up this delicious Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad for your next picnic.

Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad

 

Toss your mayo-filled version for this Broccoli Salad with Creamy Almond Dressing.

Broccoli Salad with Creamy Almond Dressing
Image and Recipe via Pinch of Yum

 

These Salt and Vinegar Zucchini Chips lighten up your favorite craving and side.

Salt and Vinegar Zucchini Chips

Salt and Vinegar Zucchini Chips

 

Watermelon Pineapple Summer Salad will be a new picnic staple.

Watermelon Pineapple Summer Salad with Honey Lime Mint Dressing

 

Sneak in plenty of veggies with these easy Ginger Scallion Chicken Wraps.

Ginger Scallion Chicken Wraps

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Air Quality Index

Keeping Track of Air Quality

Just like a stoplight tells you when to go, the Air Quality Index (AQI) tells you when it’s safe to go outside and how clean the air is to breathe.

Across America, the AQI tracks smog, pollution from cars, soil dust, pollen, and ash. Every day, the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) gives the air quality a color.

Green is the best, and as it goes from green to yellow to orange, the air gets less clean.

Poor air quality is a threat to everyone’s health, but children, the elderly, and those with breathing problems need to be even more careful. The worse the air, the more likely it will trigger an asthma flare-up.

Green is when it’s perfect to play outside, but as it changes colors, slow down or maybe even stay in.

AQI Color

AQI Status

Advice

Green

Good

Enjoy the outdoors.

Yellow

Moderate

Enjoy the outdoors, but maybe limit how long you’re outside.

Orange

Unhealthy for elderly, kids, and those with breathing problems

Take it easy, and if you’re at risk, think about staying inside.

Red

Unhealthy

Stay inside.

Purple

Very unhealthy

Stay inside.

Maroon

Hazardous

Definitely stay inside.

 

Before you head out, you can check the day’s color at AirNow, and protect yourself from the start.