Having Your Sun and Being Safe Too!
UV Safety Month
Summer is here and so is the sun. As many Hoosiers are making plans to hit the beach, fire up the grill or attend an Indian’s game, it is important to remember to always protect one’s skin and eyes while having fun in the sun. July is one of the hottest and sunniest months of the year, and for this reason, July is recognized as UV Safety Month. By observing UV Safety Month you can help remind people of the dangers of overexposure to the sun.
In the United States, 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed annually; making it the most common form of cancer. Skin cancer, however, is not the only problem caused by overexposure to the sun; too much sun can cause other problems like premature aging and blinding vision problems such as cataracts and macular degeneration. Furthermore, medical conditions such as lupus can be made worse due to overexposure to the sun.
Most people recognize the importance of sun protection during the warm and sunny months, but sun protection is essential year round. Every day, even on the cloudy days, ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause damage. The sand, water and snow can reflect UV rays and increase the amount of sun that can reach your skin and eyes. Typically, the hours between 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. daylight savings time (9 a.m. - 3 p.m.) are the most hazardous time for UV exposure in the continental United States.
Although everyone is at risk of UV damage due to prolonged sun exposure, those that have light skin, freckles, red or blonde hair, or blue or green eyes are most at risk. In addition, people who take certain medications such as antibiotics, birth control pills, anti-depressants and diuretics are extremely sensitive to the sun.
How to Protect Your Skin and Eyes
According to the American Academy of Dermatology and American Academy of Ophthalmology, you can still enjoy the sun and decrease your risk of wrinkles, skin cancer and vision problems by adhering to these simple rules:
Seek shade the hours between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is the time when the UV rays are the strongest, so find an umbrella, a tree or shelter when possible.
Apply sunscreen. UV rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes. When choosing a sunscreen, make sure to use a broad-spectrum, water resistant sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30. Make sure you apply it to all exposed areas including the ears. Don’t forget to apply a generous amount and reapply every two hours, and after swimming or heavy sweating.
Wear protective clothing. Opt for loose-fitting, long sleeve shirts and long pants from tightly woven fabrics. They offer the best protection from the damaging effects of the sun’s UV rays.
Wear a hat. Choose a wide-brimmed canvas hat that covers your face, ears and the back of your neck. Avoid straw hats because they have holes that allow sunlight to penetrate through.
Wear sunglasses. When buying sunglasses, make sure they block at least 99 percent of the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. It is also important to remember that just because the sunglasses’ lens are darker or may cost more does not make the sunglasses more protective. Try to purchase sunglasses that are loose-fitting and have large lenses that wraparound. They provide the best protection.
Use precaution near water, snow and sand. The water, snow and sand can reflect the sun’s UV rays and intensify its damaging effects.
Check the UV index. Before heading out, it is important to check the UV index. A UV index of 11+ is considered extreme, which means to avoid sun exposure, wear hat and sunglasses and apply sunscreen every two hours. To find out what the UV index is in your area, check with your local weather stations.
Protect your children. One blistering sunburn in childhood can double a person's risk of skin cancer later in life.
Avoid the tanning beds.
Tanning beds have been linked to three of the most common skin cancers: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Studies have shown tanning beds increase skin cancer risk over time, meaning that the more you use them the higher your risk of skin cancer. Go With Your Own Glow
is an organization that encourages women to love and protect their own skin, regardless of their natural hue.
So enjoy the sun, but be sun smart and reduce your health risk!
Looking for a great way to get in shape, reduce stress, lower your blood pressure AND have fun? Then look no further than your local tennis court! Tennis has been shown to offer a multitude of physical and psychological health benefits. It is considered one of the best activities for a healthy heart and a half hour of singles tennis burns more calories than a rowing machine, stationary bike, yoga or golf. Tennis is a full body workout that targets the core, the arms and the legs with each swing or sprint to the ball. Some of the psychological benefits of tennis include stress reduction and the opportunity to socialize. Just imagine how much stress relief you would feel smacking a hard forehand over the net!
Now we’ve convinced you of the health benefits of tennis, but maybe you’re thinking tennis is just too hard to learn. This is not true as tennis is considered a sport for a lifetime, because it can be played at any age and at any ability. There are numerous websites, videos and books available to teach you how to play, but all you really need to know is how to swing a racquet! And consider this: the more balls that go sailing over the fence or onto the other courts, the more opportunity you have to run and retrieve them. It’s like bonus exercise!
Also forget the notion that tennis is cost prohibitive! All that is required to begin playing is a tennis racquet, tennis balls, some loose-fitting clothes and tennis shoes. Of course, the tennis racquets used by the pros can be expensive, but you can find quality tennis racquets for as little as $15 and tennis balls between $2-$3 for a can of three. And you don’t have to join a tennis club to play; tennis courts are located all around your community! Many local parks, apartment complexes and schools have tennis courts available for free community use. Visit the Tennis Welcome Center
website to find a court near you.
If you’re still not convinced, check out the U.S. Open from August 27-September 9. Watching the professionals and seeing what great shape they’re in always inspires me to pick up my racquet. And this year, if you look closely at the top of the stands in Arthur Ashe Stadium, you just might see OWH’s own Katie Jones cheering on her favorite professional women players!
Health Reform and Women's Preventive Health Services
The Affordable Care Act, recently upheld by the Supreme Court, includes some important benefits for women of all ages, both that are guaranteed to go into effect in the coming years and additional provisions which have already significantly improved women's health.
The law was signed in March 2010, and many provisions went immediately into effect, like the Patient's Bill of Rights, protecting consumers from some of the insurance industry's egregious abuses. New rules went into effect preventing insurers from being able to deny coverage to children under age 19 due to a pre-existing condition. Companies were also prohibited from imposing lifetime dollar limits on essential benefits like hospital stays and were forbidden from searching for errors in customers' applications as a way to use the error to deny coverage when a patient was sick.
The law also immediately required new health plans after September 23, 2010, to cover certain preventive services such as mammograms and colonoscopies and vaccinations without charging a deductible, co-pay or co-insurance when delivered by a network provider. Regular well-baby and well-child visits are also covered from birth through age 21. The prescription drug "donut hole" gap was also remedied by providing the four million seniors to hit the Medicare gap a one-time tax free rebate check. Also, plans are no longer able to ignore consumers with pre-existing conditions (older Americans aged 55-64 are most likely to have pre-existing conditions) and in 2014 all insurance companies must provide new coverage options to these individuals. Additionally, under the law's provisions young adults may stay under their parents' plan until they turn 26, with certain exceptions (estimates suggest approximately 3.1 million young adults gained insurance coverage through passage of this provision and it doesn't matter if the young adult is married, a student, living with their parent or a financial dependent).
In 2014, all individual and small employer markets will be prohibited from charging higher rates due to gender. Prior to the law's passage, a 22 year old woman could be charged 150% the premium a 22 year old man paid.
The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling did give Indiana the option not to expand its Medicaid program, by striking down the part of the law that would have allowed the federal government to withhold all Medicaid funding for any state that did not expand its Medicaid programs. It will be a choice for the new Governor in January 2013, whether to opt out of the law's Medicaid mandate.
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SAVE THE DATE! Friday, December 7th, 2012: Healthy Women, Healthy Hoosiers Conference, Year 2