Tips for a Healthy and Safe Summer – Part 1

A: Teach kids to try not to go alone and to always pay attention to traffic. When biking, kids should walk their bikes across intersections, and look left, then right, and then left again before crossing the street. All bikers should wear a helmet that fits properly and has a safety certification. Check the tires and brakes before going out for a ride, and watch for cracks and potholes in the road. Wear light colored clothing and try not to ride or walk after dusk.

Q: How important is sun safety?

A: Sun safety is vital not just to avoid sunburns, but also to prevent skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Most people know that they need sunscreen, but many don’t realize that it should be applied about 30 minutes before you go outside, and every two hours after that. Choose a sunscreen that is at least SPF 15. If you are very active and sweaty, sunscreen should be applied more often. If you go swimming, sunscreen should be put on again right after you get out of the water. To protect your eyes, wear sunglasses that block 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays. For extra protection, wear a long sleeve shirt and hat with a three to four inch brim. Whenever possible, avoid direct sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when UV rays are strongest.

Send questions to Ask the Surgeon General, 201 Townsend St., Lansing, MI 48913 or email (type “Ask the Surgeon General” in the subject field).