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Entries in Sunburn (6)

Friday
May242013

Watch Out for These Five Long-Weekend Health Hazards

(Brand X PicturesNEW YORK) -- For many people Memorial Day weekend means finally getting to kick off summer by striking up the barbecue, taking a dip in the ocean or simply basking in the sunshine during a long weekend.

But celebrating the unofficial start of summer also means encountering a few hazards of the season. From sunburns to bug bites or even an ill-cooked hotdog, the summer months have a few perils to contend with.

To help you avoid these pitfalls, we've put together a list of five health hazards for the summer months and how to avoid them.

Sunburns
After a long winter hibernation, it can be tempting to soak up as much sun as possible during a day at the beach or a picnic in the park, but experts warn that even a single sunburn can do lasting damage to the skin.

To enjoy the sun safely, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends using water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen, which protects against UVA and UVB rays, which has an SPF of 30 or higher.
Additionally, experts advise seeking shade from 10a.m. to 2p.m., when the sun's rays are the strongest.

Unfortunately water and sand can amplify the sun's rays, so be extra-careful during trips to the beach. And be sure to reapply sun block every two hours or after taking a dip in the ocean.

If you do get a sunburn, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends taking a cool bath, popping a few aspirin or ibuprofen to help lessen the swelling and redness, and drinking lots of water since a sunburn draws fluid from the body.

Insects that Sting and Bite
One consequence of enjoying the great outdoors is being assailed by various stinging and biting insects that only a beekeeper outfit could keep at bay. While many of these insects are merely a nuisance, for people who are allergic, they pose a clear and even deadly threat to their health. The American College of Allergies, Asthma and Immunology estimates that 2 million Americans are allergic to insect stings. That includes people who are at risk of having a potentially fatal reaction to the venom of certain insects.

More than 500,000 Americans end up in the hospital every year due to insect stings and bites, and they cause at least 50 known deaths a year.

Richard Pollack, a public health entomologist and instructor at the Harvard School of Public Health, says it's imperative for those who are allergic to insect stings to carry around an epi-pen, which can be used to easily inject epinephrine to help ease a severe allergic reaction.

"It does you no good to have it in your medicine cabinet if you're out and about [and get stung]," said Pollack.

In addition to life-threatening reactions from bee or wasp stings, warmer weather also means ticks will be actively looking for a host to feed off. Ticks can carry multiple diseases, including Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever.  

"If you're going to enjoy the outdoors, even just a backyard barbecue, you run some risk of acquiring a tick," said Pollack. "At the end of the day, do a tick check on yourself, children and even your pets."

To keep insects at bay during the spring and summer months, Pollack recommends using an insect repellent when outdoors and putting screens over your windows to keep out pests such as mosquitoes.

Food Poisoning
While enjoying a picnic or barbecue is one of the great traditions of Memorial Day weekend, getting ill from spoiled potato salad or a rotten deviled egg is one of the worst.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 48 million Americans become sick with food poisoning every year. Reactions to spoiled food can result in nausea, vomiting, fever or diarrhea.

To avoid any dietary mishaps this holiday, the CDC recommends that foods prone to spoiling not be kept unrefrigerated for more than two hours, one hour in extremely hot weather, and that meat is cooked to the proper temperature.

The United States Department of Agriculture even has a website dedicated to grilling safely, which explains the correct temperature for all your favorite summer meals. Hot dogs, for example, need to be cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit or until steaming hot. The CDC recommends that whole meats be cooked to a temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit; ground meats cooked to 160; and poultry, 165.

Poison ivy
A hiking trip can be a great way to celebrate the long holiday weekend, but one brush with poison ivy and a fun holiday excursion can turn excruciating.

While many people know to avoid poison ivy's infamous "leaves of three," the American Academy of Family Physicians says if people accidently swipe the plant they can quickly wash the skin with soap and water to help minimize effects. The oily sap of the plant contains urushiol, which bonds to the skin after a few minutes of contact and over the next few days will result in an itchy-blistered rash.

If you end up one of the unfortunate ones who didn't spot the plant in time, you can use one of the recommended over-the-counter medications such as a hydrocortisone cream, Calamine lotion, an antihistamine or an oatmeal bath to ease the symptoms.

Pollen Allergies
For those with pollen allergies, spending Memorial Day outdoors can mean suffering through a host of unpleasant allergy symptoms from sneezing to itchy watery eyes. In some states the summer grass season is already gearing up before the spring tree pollen season has fully ended. Anyone allergic to both kinds of pollen should consider staying inside for the long weekend.

However, Dr. Andy Nish, a Georgia-based allergist and fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, says people should try to avoid being out in the mornings if they have particularly bad reactions to grass pollen since the pollen count is usually highest during the early hours. Additionally, anyone who has allergies and is attending a barbecue may want to stay away from the grill.

"We know that other things [like smoke] can prime the nose and make it more sensitive to allergies," said Nish. "It can make [people] have a double whammy."

In addition to taking nasal steroids or over-the-counter medications, there are other steps allergy sufferers can take to lessen their symptoms. Nish recommends that people who are allergic to pollen change their clothes and take a shower when they get home so that the pollen isn't tracked indoors.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul192012

Sunscreen Clothes: Do They Work?

File photo. Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It's a hot summer all across America, but do you really need more than sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself from the rays?

A whole new category of products are now available that include clothes, makeup and shampoo -- all promising to offer extra protection from the sun: even bikinis.

"For the life of me, I don't know what good that will do," Dr. David Leffell, a professor of dermatology at Yale University, told ABC News about the sunscreen swimsuit. "By definition, most of the body is uncovered, so the rationale of sun-protective clothing in the bikini escapes me."

While the shampoo doesn't protect the scalp at all, the good news is that chemically treated clothes work, and Dr. Melda Isaac, a Washington, D.C., dermatologist, routinely recommends them to her patients.

"Let's face it, none of us really apply the right amount of sunscreen," she said. "Good sun protective clothing assures you of getting the proper protection."

ABC News tested a polo shirt with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 50 and a child's hoodie rated UPF 20 in a certified lab. The results were that the garments worked as advertised when they were brand new.

However, the clothing did lose some effectiveness after three or four washes, which made the experts believe they are unlikely to last more than one season.

"A year or two would be a very good standard for the longevity of a fabric," said Leffell. "The protection doesn't last forever, and you don't want to take things out of storage every summer and assume that you're being protected."

Detergent that adds chemical sunscreen to your regular clothes also proved to be effective. What does not work is a plain, white untreated t-shirt. It offers only SPF 8 protection -- a sunburn waiting to happen. But when treated with a detergent that includes a sunscreen additive, the SPF increases to 15.

A cheaper alternative to all this remains sunscreen and dark clothes that deflect UV rays.

"If someone would actually want to wear denim on the beach, that would offer the best sun protection, but obviously that's going to be warm," said Isaac.

If not, there's always the sunscreen-treated bikini, it passed the test with an SPF of 50 but, of course, you'll need an awful lot of sunscreen for the rest of you.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug082011

Naked Man Gets Second-Degree Sun Burn in Texas Heat Wave

Peter Cade/Iconica(AUSTIN-TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas) -- Texas cops are trying to identify a nude man who was found asleep on a dock during the broiling Texas heat wave and has been hospitalized with second-degree burns over 40 percent of his body.

The man claims to not know who he is, police said.

"Our victim was altered. He didn't know his name, who he was or how he got there. He was found without an ID or possessions of any sort," said Warren Hassinger, spokesman for the Austin-Travis County EMS.

His burns were so severe that the man was airlifted by helicopter to an area hospital.

The man was found asleep on the boat dock of a private home and the woman who owned the home called police. He didn't wake up until a police boat from the Travis County sheriff's office arrived, prompting him to jump in the water, police said.

The officers notified EMS, who were prepared to perform an emergency water rescue. The EMS team successfully pulled the victim from the water and immediately noticed the severity of the victim's burns, which included blisters over his body from the blistering triple-digit heat.

"Sunburn doesn't rise to this magnitude because people normally remove themselves from that environment," Hassinger said. He described the severity of the burns to what they normally only see in house and car fire casualties.

The spokesman said that "organic issues or substance abuse" are suspected in the man's behavior.

"It was clear that something else was going on with him. This gentleman had other issues given that his sunburn was the clear consequence of other behavior," Hassinger said.

The woman who called police declined to press charges.

"No criminal charges were filed and there will be no criminal investigation," Hassinger said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jul062011

Researchers Seek to Explain Sunburn Pain

Steve Mason/Digital Vision(LONDON) -- Sunburn is one of the summer's most enduring stings, leaving a sore, red, peeling patch long after the day's rays give way to cooler nights. Ointments and aspirin can help soothe the sear. But the pain, part of the body's plea for shade and sunscreen, is inevitable.

British researchers have discovered a molecule responsible for the persistent pain caused by sunburn, offering hope for a treatment that could one day block it.

"It wasn't known before that this protein was implicated in any kind of pain," said Stephen McMahon, professor of physiology at Guy's Medical School in London. "If you wanted a cure for sunburn pain, we may have found that."

The protein, called CXCL5, was elevated in painful sunburns. And blocking the protein's effects in a rat model of sunburn relieved the pain. The study was published today in Science Translational Medicine.

But McMahon, a long time pain researcher, thinks blocking sunburn pain is a bad idea. Sunburns are the body's response to ultraviolet radiation, which kills some skin cells and permanently damages the DNA of others, sometimes leading to skin cancer later on. In an attempt to save the damaged cells with oxygen and nutrients, the body pumps more blood to the skin, turning it red. And the swollen blood vessels ooze plasma, causing blisters.

"By the time you see your skin turning pink, it's almost too late," said Dr. Darrell Rigel, dermatologist at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. "The damage has already happened."

That damage, Rigel said, is impossible to undo.

"The best thing you can do is protect yourself from the sun," he said. "Wear a broad-brimmed hat, avoid being outside when the sun is at its strongest, and use sunscreen. We know those three things together lower sunburn risk and subsequently lower the risk of skin cancer."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun292011

Sting of Summer: Protect Yourself from Bites and Burns

Photos.com/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If this Fourth of July is anything like the last national holiday, Memorial Day, families and travelers headed to the beach will want to keep their eyes peeled to the sand and the sun, not just the fireworks-brightened sky.

Beachgoers who braved the Florida coastline Memorial Day weekend were greeted with the wrong kind of bang -- hundreds of painful stings.  Because of steady Atlantic winds, the beaches were swamped with reddish-colored jellyfish, known as mauve stingers, resulting in more than 800 reported stings among the beachgoers.

Now that summer has started, the Florida jellyfish debacle is a sharp reminder of the many stings, burns, nips, bites, and rashes that arise when the temperature heats up and people head outdoors.  ABC News spoke with pediatricians, dermatologists, and emergency medicine experts to pull together a guide to preventing, identifying, and treating the various ills that can accompany your summer fun.

Whether you're headed to the beach or just outside to your backyard, read on to protect yourself from enduring the stings of summer.

When Jellyfish Attack

Although there are many different species of jellyfish throughout the coastal United States, the resulting sting is largely the same.  When you come into contact with a jellyfish, either underwater or when they're beached on land, small barbs in the tentacles catch on your skin and cause red welts.

If you think you've been stung by a jellyfish (and given how painful a jellyfish sting is, you usually know it), the best thing to do is rinse the sting in saltwater, not freshwater, says Dr. Lee Winans, head of the emergency room at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center in Fort Pierce, Florida.

"The little barbs are packets of poison, and if you use freshwater, it will cause them to rupture and make the reaction worse," he says.

Rubbing or patting the area can also cause these packets to rupture, so take a shell or credit card and scrape the barbs off the area while rinsing in the saltwater, says Dr. James Schmidt, a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters in Norfolk, Virginia.

Sun Burn vs. Sun Poisoning

We all know we should be wearing sunscreen, but sunburns still happen.  The question is, when is a sunburn more than just a "use some aloe and get some shade" situation?

When sunburn is severe, causing blisters or covering a large part of the body, it can result in sun poisoning -- an extension of heat stroke that is marked by dehydration, fever, and headache.  Sunburn is a form of inflammation, so when a significant area of skin is inflamed, the body reacts to the inflammation with flu-like symptoms, says Dr. Neil Korman, a dermatologist at U.H. Case Medical Center.

The Bite from the Mystery Bug

Bees and hornet stings are usually not problematic unless you are allergic to their sting or if multiple stings are received at once.  Wheezing or excessive swelling around the face or site of sting should be checked out by a doctor immeidately, especially if it seems the person is having an allergic reaction to the sting, says Winans.

As for spider bites, most are harmless, but a few species of poisonous spiders can cause more serious reactions.  In the southern U.S., brown recluse spiders can result in large, painful bites that, left untreated, can lead to loss of a limb.  Unlike normal spider bites, which get better over the course of a few days, poisonous bites will only get worse and the skin around the bite can start to die, says Winans.

Chigger, mosquito, and fire ant bites, while painful and itchy, are benign.  They usually appear as small itchy bumps, or in the case of ant bites, small pus-filled bumps. "Put topical over-the-counter steroid cream on bites, but try not to itch them, that will only open them up to a possible infection," Winans says.

Lyme Disease: Beware the Bull's Eye

A bite from a tick is usually not felt and will not itch, but if the tick is a carrier for Lyme disease, the resulting infection can be severe.  The easiest way to diagnose Lyme disease is by the red ring rash that often, but not always, accompanies a bite by a tick with Lyme.  The "bull's-eye rash" will develop three to 30 days after a bite and will be accompanied by fatigue, chills, fever, headache, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If you remove a tick from you and experience these symptoms following (even without the rash), see a doctor to get tested for Lyme disease, doctors say, because if not treated with antibiotics, Lyme can cause neurological, joint and cardiac problems over time, says Dr. Korman of U.H. Case Medical Center.

Rash Reaction

Swimmer's itch consists of many small, itchy, slightly painful red bumps that are usually noticed following a swim in the ocean.  Usually, the rash is just another form of a jellyfish sting and results when microscopic jellyfish larva get caught in the fabric of one's swimsuit, says Schmidt.  Swimmer's itch can also be caused by other parasites present in fresh or saltwater.  The rash is benign and can be treated with topical hydrocortisone cream but will otherwise go away on its own, doctors say.

Heat rash is not from contact with any plant or animal but merely the product of skin irritation in damp or sandy conditions, such as wearing a wet bathing suit over an extended period of time.  The red, raised, itchy bumps are sometimes referred to as "prickly heat" and occur when the sweat glands become clogged, says Korman.

Rashes from poison oak, poison ivy, or poison sumac are par for the course for summertime excursions into wooded areas, and while annoying, are usually not serious.  Approximately 85 percent of the population will develop an allergic reaction if exposed to poison ivy, oak or sumac, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun012011

The Sting of Summer: Be Prepared, From Bites to Burns

Photos[dot]com/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- For those who vacationed on the Florida coastline this Memorial Day, the summer season launched with a bang, or more specifically, with hundreds of stings.

Because of steady Atlantic winds, this past holiday weekend the beaches were swamped with reddish-colored jellyfish, known as mauve stingers, resulting in more than 800 reported stings among the beachgoers.

Though summer has not officially started, the Florida jellyfish debacle is a sharp reminder of the many stings, burns, nips, bites, and rashes that arise during the summer months ahead.  ABC News spoke with pediatricians, dermatologists and emergency medicine experts to pull together a guide to preventing, identifying and treating the various ills that can accompany your summer fun.

When Jellyfish Attack

Although there are many different species of jellyfish throughout the coastal United States, the resulting sting is largely the same.  When you come into contact with a jellyfish, either underwater or when they're beached on land, small barbs in the tentacles catch on your skin and cause red welts.

If you think you've been stung by a jellyfish (and given how painful a jellyfish sting is, you usually know it), the best thing to do is rinse the sting in saltwater, not freshwater, says Dr. Lee Winans, head of the emergency room at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center in Fort Pierce, Florida.

"The little barbs are packets of poison, and if you use freshwater, it will cause them to rupture and make the reaction worse," he says.

Rubbing or patting the area can also cause these packets to rupture, so take a shell or credit card and scrape the barbs off the area while rinsing in the saltwater, says Dr. James Schmidt, a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters in Norfolk, Virginia.

Sun Burn vs. Sun Poisoning

We all know we should be wearing sunscreen, but sunburns still happen.  The question is, when is a sunburn more than just a "use some aloe and get some shade" situation?

When sunburn is severe, causing blisters or covering a large part of the body, it can result in sun poisoning -- an extension of heat stroke that is marked by dehydration, fever, and headache.  Sunburn is a form of inflammation, so when a significant area of skin is inflamed, the body reacts to the inflammation with flu-like symptoms, says Dr. Neil Korman, a dermatologist at U.H. Case Medical Center.

The Bite from the Mystery Bug

Bees and hornet stings are usually not problematic unless you are allergic to their sting or if multiple stings are received at once.  Wheezing or excessive swelling around the face or site of sting should be checked out by a doctor immeidately, especially if it seems the person is having an allergic reaction to the sting, says Winans.

As for spider bites, most are harmless, but a few species of poisonous spiders can cause more serious reactions.  In the southern U.S., brown recluse spiders can result in large, painful bites that, left untreated, can lead to loss of a limb.  Unlike normal spider bites, which get better over the course of a few days, poisonous bites will only get worse and the skin around the bite can start to die, says Winans.

Chigger, mosquito, and fire ant bites, while painful and itchy, are benign.  They usually appear as small itchy bumps, or in the case of ant bites, small pus-filled bumps. "Put topical over-the-counter steroid cream on bites, but try not to itch them, that will only open them up to a possible infection," Winans says.

Lyme Disease: Beware the Bull's Eye

A bite from a tick is usually not felt and will not itch, but if the tick is a carrier for Lyme disease, the resulting infection can be severe.  The easiest way to diagnose Lyme disease is by the red ring rash that often, but not always, accompanies a bite by a tick with Lyme.  The "bull's-eye rash" will develop three to 30 days after a bite and will be accompanied by fatigue, chills, fever, headache, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If you remove a tick from you and experience these symptoms following (even without the rash), see a doctor to get tested for Lyme disease, doctors say, because if not treated with antibiotics, Lyme can cause neurological, joint and cardiac problems over time, says Dr. Korman of U.H. Case Medical Center.

Rash Reaction

Swimmer's itch consists of many small, itchy, slightly painful red bumps that are usually noticed following a swim in the ocean.  Usually, the rash is just another form of a jellyfish sting and results when microscopic jellyfish larva get caught in the fabric of one's swimsuit, says Schmidt.  Swimmer's itch can also be caused by other parasites present in fresh or saltwater.  The rash is benign and can be treated with topical hydrocortisone cream but will otherwise go away on its own, doctors say.

Heat rash is not from contact with any plant or animal but merely the product of skin irritation in damp or sandy conditions, such as wearing a wet bathing suit over an extended period of time.  The red, raised, itchy bumps are sometimes referred to as "prickly heat" and occur when the sweat glands become clogged, says Korman.

Rashes from poison oak, poison ivy, or poison sumac are par for the course for summertime excursions into wooded areas, and while annoying, are usually not serious.  Approximately 85 percent of the population will develop an allergic reaction if exposed to poison ivy, oak or sumac, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio