Willamette Health Room
Sun Safety Tips
Protecting your skin from the sun’s damaging rays is vital for a number of important health reasons. Here are the top ten steps you can take to protect your health:
• When possible, avoid outdoor activities during the hours between 10 AM and 4 PM, when the sun’s rays are the strongest.
• Always wear a broad-spectrum (protection against both UVA and UVB) sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or higher.
• Be sure to reapply sunscreen frequently, especially after swimming, perspiring heavily or drying off with a towel.
• Wear a hat with a 4-inch brim all around because it protects areas often exposed to the sun, such as the neck, ears, eyes, forehead, nose, and scalp.
• Wear clothing to protect as much skin as possible. Long-sleeved shirts, long pants, or long skirts are the most protective. Dark colors provide more protection than light colors by preventing more UV rays from reaching your skin. A tightly woven fabric provides greater protection than loosely woven fabric.
• To protect your eyes from sun damage, wear sunglasses that block 99 to 100-percent of UVA and UVB radiation.
• Consider wearing cosmetics and lip protectors with an SPF of at least 15 to protect your skin year-round.
• Swimmers should remember to regularly reapply sunscreen. UV rays reflect off water and sand, increasing the intensity of UV radiation.
• Some medications, such as antibiotics, can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information about the medications you are taking.
• Children need extra protection from the sun. One or two blistering sunburns before the age of 18 dramatically increases the risk of skin cancer. Encourage children to play in the shade, wear protective clothing and apply sunscreen regularly.
Source: American Cancer Society
The sun radiates light to the earth, and part of that light consists of invisible ultraviolet (UV) rays. When these rays reach the skin, they cause tanning, burning, and other skin damage.
Sunlight contains three types of ultraviolet rays: UVA, UVB, and UVC.
1. UVA rays cause skin aging and wrinkling and contribute to skin cancer, such as melanoma. Because UVA rays pass effortlessly through the ozone layer (the protective layer of atmosphere, or shield, surrounding the earth), they make up the majority of our sun exposure. Beware of tanning beds because they use UVA rays. A UVA tan does not help protect the skin from further sun damage; it merely produces color and a false sense of protection from the sun.
2. UVB rays are also dangerous, causing sunburns, cataracts (clouding of the eye lens), and immune system damage. They also contribute to skin cancer. Melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, is thought to be associated with severe UVB sunburns that occur before the age of 20. Most UVB rays are absorbed by the ozone layer, but enough of these rays pass through to cause serious damage.
3. UVC rays are the most dangerous, but fortunately, these rays are blocked by the ozone layer and don’t reach the earth.
What’s important is to protect your family from exposure to UVA and UVB, the rays that cause skin damage.
Cough medicine reminder
Parents, please be aware that our school medication policy includes such things as cough drops and cough/cold medicines.
Over the counter (OTC) medications also require a completed medication form and a parent signature with specific dispensing instructions. OTC medication must follow the manufacturer instructions and be in manufacturer packaging.
So, if your child needs a cough drop or cough medicine at school the parent/guardian needs to bring in the OTC medication in the original packaging along with filling out the Medication Authorization form. The student should not bring in a handful of cough drops to give to the health room assistant or keep in their backpack/pocket.
Link for Medication Administration Form: AuthorizationforMedicationForm
Students should wash their hands prior to eating at school and also remember to wash your hands after coughing or sneezing.
These are the simple, everyday, low-tech steps we can take to reduce our chances of exposure to illness and to protect others. These are the same preventive measures for COVID-19, flu, the common cold and other respiratory illnesses:
* Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
* Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
* Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue (or sleeve) and then throw the tissue in the trash.
* Clean and disinfect surfaces that are often touched.
* Stay home if you’re sick.
* Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
* Take care of your health overall. Staying current on your vaccinations, including flu vaccine, eating well and exercising all help your body stay resilient.
- Use plenty of soap and water
- Scrub vigorously wrists, tops of hands, between fingers, under and around rings, palms, and fingernails for 30 seconds
- Rinse well
- Turn off the faucet with a paper towel so clean hands stay clean
It is the soap and rubbing action that helps dislodge and remove germs. Drying helps remove germs that may be left after rinsing.
It is important to wash hands:
- Before, during and after preparing food;
- Before eating;
- After using the bathroom or assisting another person in the bathroom;
- After handling animals or animal waste;
- When hands are dirty;
- After recess or gym; and
- After blowing nose, coughing, or sneezing. (Yes! Even if you use a tissue!)