Newswise — STRATFORD, NJ – With backyard, beach and barbeque season upon us and the season’s first heat wave right around the corner, a family physician at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-School of Osteopathic Medicine (UMDNJ-SOM) is reminding everyone to “Go SLoW” to enjoy a healthy summer season.
“I urge my patients to ‘Go SLoW’ - sunscreen and lots of water – as a way to stay healthy during the summer months,” said Dr. Jennifer Caudle, a family physician at UMDNJ-SOM. “Summer is a great time for being outdoors, but overexposure to the sun increases your risk of skin cancer and heat-related illnesses that can be life-threatening.”
Dr. Caudle said that sunscreen should be a part of everyone’s daily routine in the summer. “Tanning is just your body’s response to the damage occurring to your skin, damage that could lead to the development of skin cancer later in life.”
To protect against the sun’s harmful rays, Dr. Caudle recommends:
• Applying a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 against both types of ultraviolet rays (UVA and UVB).
• Avoiding midday sun exposure (between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.).
• Wearing protective clothing, including hats and sunglasses.
• Reapplying sunscreen every two or three hours, or more frequently when swimming or perspiring heavily.
“Heat exhaustion and heat stroke can occur suddenly and can be life-threatening,” Dr. Caudle said. “When working or exercising outside, take frequent breaks and drink water or other non-alcoholic or caffeine-free liquids.” At the same time, she warned that, while they are similar in some ways, heat exhaustion and heat stroke also have crucial differences, and knowing those differences could save a life.
“An individual suffering from heat exhaustion will perspire heavily, and may also experience dizziness or nausea, but may recover with rest in a shaded area, drinks of cool water every 10 to 15 minutes, and cool, wet cloths applied directly to the skin,” Dr. Caudle explained. “On the other hand, heat stroke may cause the same symptoms, but the individual will not be perspiring and may faint or act confused. Heat stroke is a life threatening condition. If you suspect heat stroke, call 911 or seek immediate medical attention. Keep in mind, however, that either condition may require medical attention.”
The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) is New Jersey’s only health sciences university with more than 6,000 students on five campuses attending the state's three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and New Jersey’s only school of public health. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, which provides a continuum of healthcare services with multiple locations throughout the state.