10 Tips for Sunscreen Safety

By Elisa Kaufmann, Education and Outreach Specialist

Sunscreen is a must-have item for many of us. In my work, I teach kids and adults about chemical ingredients in personal care products (shampoo, lotion, soap, cosmetics, etc) and I often get asked about sunscreen. What kinds of chemicals are in sunscreen? How do I know if a sunscreen is safe or effective? What is SPF?  In response, here are some tips for sunscreen safety.

1) Read the ingredients. Look for the active ingredients: zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These are mineral sunscreens. Mineral sunscreens do not penetrate the skin as easily as others and they offer stable and lasting UV protection.

The active ingredient to avoid is a chemical called, oxybenzone. This chemical can trigger allergic reactions on sensitive skin. It soaks through the skin and can reach the bloodstream. The chemical has been linked to disruption of the body’s hormone system and is found in samples of urine and breast milk.

2) Avoid spray sunscreens. They may be easier to apply on little wiggle worms, but spray sunscreens do not provide adequate protection from the sun. Not only do they make it easier to miss spots, but the sprayed mist is easily inhaled by everyone around. Aerosol sprays are harmful to the lungs, especially to those with asthma and other lung diseases, small children, and the elderly. When applying spray sunscreens outside, much of the light spray gets blown in the wind and misses the skin. Lotion sunscreens offer much better protection.

3) Understand SPFs. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. Unfortunately, the name is misleading. SPF measures how well the sunscreen blocks UVB rays – the kind of sun ray that causes burns. It does not measure UVA rays, which can cause skin damage and are linked to other health conditions. Look for a product with SPF between 20 and 45 and reapply often.

4) Re-apply often. Sunscreen wears off throughout the day and washes off with sweat and water. For these reasons, moisturizers with SPF are not recommended in place of sunscreen. Moisturizers are intended to be used once a day – sunscreen must be re-applied every two hours or so while in the sun and after swimming or heavy sweating.

5) Don’t forget your scalp. Use a cotton swab to apply sunscreen on the scalp that shows where hair is parted. Dab along the part with the cotton swab and then rub it in with your finger.

6) Wear a hat. Growing up, my mom always tried to get me to wear hats in the sun. I should've listened! I always try to wear one now, especially when I am gardening. Hats add protection to the scalp, ears, face, and sometimes the neck. If you have thinning hair or bald spots, a hat is your best friend on a sunny day.

7) Choose the shade. A great way to limit sun exposure is to settle down in the shade. For example, when picnicking, set up your spot in the shade. Then your group can go back and forth between sun and shade.

8) Skip sunscreens combined with bug repellent. Bug repellents are not usually needed as often, at the same time or in the same places as sunscreen. Most bug repellents should not be applied to the face – but sunscreen should. Bug repellent is usually needed most at dusk.

9) Tanning oils are not sunscreen. If they have sunscreen ingredients, it is not enough to offer adequate protection.

10) Check out the 2014 Guide to Sunscreens by the Environmental Working Group at www.ewg.org/2014sunscreen. You can also search sunscreens on the website using their “Find your sunscreen” database search.

 Remember, skin damage can occur even if there is no evidence of sun burn. Choose your sunscreen wisely, stay out of the direct sun when possible, drink enough water, and most of all - have fun this summer!

Threads of Memory

Month 6 - Salem Star for Charlotte Forten Grimke
In 1854 Charlotte was sixteen. Read one of her journal 
entries and get the pattern for this block here.

Why men should be prepared for disasters: Q&A with Integris Health’s Steve Petty

Steve Petty, director of community
health improvement for
Integris Health
June is Men’s Health Month, a great time to remind American men and boys that they need to be prepared for emergencies. Steve Petty is director of community health improvement for Integris Health, Oklahoma’s largest hospital network, and administrative director of the network’s Men’s Health University, a health screening event for men. Check out what Petty, who is a member of APHA’s Men’s Health Caucus and the Men’s Health Network, recommends.

APHA recently partnered with March of Dimes to promote preparedness for pregnant mothers and families with infants. How can emergency readiness specifically improve men’s health?

Personal consideration and preparation for emergencies leads to a more confident and content state of mind. Having a plan for the critical actions during an emergency improves the chance that such individuals will escape harm. The entire family unit benefits from men who engage in emergency readiness planning.

You’ve spoken of the “
silent health crisis” facing American men, who live on average five years fewer than women. One reason is because men take more risks. Does this put men at greater risk during public health disasters? 

It is thought that the increase in such risk taking behavior might be decreased if men were encouraged to participate in debriefing or defusing activities.

  • considering how we can promote emergency preparedness among men in the community;
  • identifying “at risk” men following community disasters and providing access to counseling and support activities;
  • providing education and operational training for emergency health care providers, community members and other major stakeholders regarding emergency preparedness and men;
  • promoting the importance of men taking charge of their health/wellness for themselves and for the sake of their families; and
  • creating awareness of the importance of regular health checkups with a physician or health care provider.

The life expectancy gap between men and women is, in many cases, due to our different biological makeup, but it is also the socialization and lifestyles which highly influence health outcomes. As young boys, many are taught that big boys don’t cry, leading to the "macho man” attitude where men are expected to ignore health concerns and push through the pain.

Also, studies that have been performed to date show some variations in mortality rates during disasters. Men are more likely to suffer severe consequences psychologically, like suicide, following a disaster.

They are less likely for the most part to seek care for emotional problems and often remain symptomatic for longer periods of time when compared to women. A few studies demonstrate that one response to stress — particularly following large-scale disasters — is that men increase the frequency of risk-taking behaviors.

Fill in the blanks for APHA’s Get Ready Blog readers and your Oklahoma City communities: “I pledge to help men prepare for emergencies by ________”

I have so many recommendations here, including:

It's also important for men — and women, for that matter — to have regular checkups, so that screening tests can detect health problems early, when they are easier to treat.

June is a great opportunity to set an appointment with your health care provider, or you can stop by one of the many health stations now found in retail settings. A great place to find the information you may need before and after that visit is the online Men's Health Online Resource Center. 

Unexpected Alphabets No 23

Yesterday saw our annual village show, named after the next village for some still unexplained reason. I've gone on about it in blog posts passim, and you've only got to change the title of Philip Larkin's poem Show Saturday to Show Sunday and you'll know exactly what it's like: ...horse-boxes move; each crawls / Towards the stock entrance, tilting and swaying, bound / For far-off farms. 

This year was no different, except that I took more notice of what was going on in the main ring from my straw bale seat, rather than over-indulging myself in the hospitality tent of the show sponsors. So I know a bit more about ladies riding side-saddle, which was nice, but am still nonplussed by JCB digger formation dancing. I had a lovely chat with a bloke who had brought old tools for sale from near Bawdsey in Suffolk and who told me about playing inside Martello Towers when he was a child, but inevitably got drawn to the ranks of restored, partly restored and still wrecked old tractors. Towering over them was a vehicle used to haul timber, also from Suffolk, and I stared for a long time at the hand wrought lettering 'ticked-in' on the door. I wondered at which point the artist realised he wasn't going to get all of 'Suffolk' in before the door edge was reached. Of course he or she knew. If you draw lettering you know instinctively.

And just as inevitably I got drawn into the secondhand book tent where I nearly got into a scuffle with a pal who had, I confess, seen a C.Henry Warren book illustrated by John Aldridge before I did. But I did alight successfully on the 1920 Dairy Farming book. I had to have it just for the cover, which pleased me immensely. Although I don't doubt that I shall benefit at some time by knowing that cows calving between October and January give the highest yields. It says on page 80. I've just made it into a big A3 print and it looks even better. Perhaps I'll do the same for Mr.Cooper's red door.

Dam Neck Explores Future of 3D Printing for Navy

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Taylor N. Stinson, Navy Public Affairs Support Element East

DAM NECK, Va. (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy hosted its first Maker Faire, a series of workshops titled, "Print the Fleet," to introduce 3D printing and additive manufacturing to Sailors and other stakeholders attending the two-day event June 24 and 26 at Combat Direction Systems Activity (CDSA), Dam Neck, a Navy warfare center.

The Navy's event took place on the heels of the first White House Maker Faire, held June 18. The White House event showcased the work of entrepreneurs and forward thinkers from around the country, as well as students exploring Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) related skills.

"When you consider the cost and vulnerabilities of our existing Navy logistics and supply chains as well as the resource constraints we face, it quickly becomes clear that we have to reimagine how we do business," said Vice Adm. Phil Cullom, deputy chief of naval operations for fleet readiness and logistics, during a video introduction.

"When advanced manufacturing and 3D printing becomes widely available, we envision a global network of advanced fabrication shops supported by Sailors with the skills and training to identify problems and make products."

The Navy aims to train Sailors with this expertise in the future, according to Cullom. Adopting 3D printing and other advanced manufacturing methods could drastically increase the speed of execution, improve readiness, decrease costs and avoid shipping parts around the world.

"Think of it as another tool in the toolbox," said Jim Lambeth, "Print The Fleet" lead at CDSA. "If there is a part needed and it doesn't exist in the inventory, we could design the part on demand and that will help us cut costs. This is one of the advantages additive manufacturing is going to bring to the Navy."

The Navy's vision is within days or hours of identifying a needed part on a ship, a model will be designed and uploaded to a database for printing, allowing for a more rapid response to the ship's needs.

Earlier this year, amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) installed a compact 3D printer on board for testing. Essex successfully printed sample parts as well as trained its Sailors on computer-aided design software.

"It's the biggest thing happening on the deck plate," said Capt. Jim Loper, concepts and innovations department head at Navy Warfare Development Center. "We put the printer on Essex specifically to get it in Sailors' hands so they could play with the technology and so we could learn the best way to use the printer."

A number of Navy labs ashore have a 3D printing capability. But at sea, being able to use 3D printing successfully within the dynamic environment of a high sea state will be a major milestone.

"The future of logistics is 3D printing," said Loper. "The quantity of supplies we carry on board could be reduced significantly if we 3D print those products on the ship. There really are no limits."

Fussy Friday #26

Marcus Brothers - Scarlet Evening - Judie Rothermel
- - - - - - - - - - -
Follow us between post on Facebook and Instagram

Common Sense Gardening: 4 Tips to Outsmart Weeds!

By Jane Mountjoy-Venning, Education & Outreach Specialist

We spend a lot of time and energy making our yards and gardens beautiful and then it happens – weeds grow. It’s so frustrating! Luckily, I have a lot of practice handling weeds and can share with you four tips to outsmart pesky weeds without putting your family, pets, wildlife, and water at risk.

1) In shrub beds and around trees put down mulch such as wood chips, sawdust, shredded bark, or shredded yard prunings. Take care to keep the mulch a few inches away from the trunks.  Mulch about two inches deep around rhododendrons, azaleas, blueberries, and other shallow-rooted shrubs.  For other shrubs, lay it on thick – around four to five inches deep.  

2) In the garden crowd out weeds by planting the flowers or veggies closely. This leaves less room for weeds to grow.  Use cover crops or quick growing annual flowers to fill in gaps and cover bare ground.  Make weeding a priority or at least cut back any weed before it sets seed.  A mulch of shredded leaves or compost works well in the garden.

3) In the lawn, “mulch mow” about 2 inches high for most lawns. This means to leave the grass clippings on top of the 2 inches of grass. This helps shade the soil so new weeds have trouble sprouting and feeds the grass every time you mow so it thrives.  Pull dandelions with a long-handled weed puller, or better yet, convince your kids that those yellow flowers are your favorites and encourage them to make you a bouquet every day.  Overseed your lawn every fall with a northwest blend of grass seed to help crowd out potential weeds.

4) In paths, driveways, or patios use heatto kill unwanted plants.  Pour boiling water from a teakettle on weeds or invest in a propane torch flame weeder, affectionately called a flame-thrower at our house.  The kids were disappointed that it did not really throw flames!  The goal is to heat the plants until their cells burst, not burn them up.  Of course, be careful – this technique is great during the wet parts of the year, but is not appropriate in dry summer weather.  Always keep a hose or bucket of water handy just in case.

If you are looking for more tips, or low-hazard products check out www.growsmartgrowsafe.org.