Healthy Cleveland: Summer Activity Preparedness

On today’s episode of Healthy Cleveland, host Leah Haslage sat down with Shaddy Swade, Project Director for the Cleveland Department of Public Health’s Office of Emergency Preparedness to discuss how to stay safe while having fun this Summer.

As many of us Cleveland resident’s know, we spend far too much time inside thanks to Winter, so once the temperature starts rising, we’re eager to get outside and enjoy the weather! However, just because the threats of frostbite and black ice are gone for the season, doesn’t mean you should run to the beach without being prepared. We’ve collected a few facts & tips you should know before going out to enjoy the sun.

Sunscreen & Sunblock

It may come as a surprise, but there is actually a difference between sunscreen and sunblock. Sunscreen shields against UVA rays, which cause aging and wrinkling of the skin, while sunblock shields against UVB rays, which cause burning & melanoma. That means if you plan on spending the day outside in the sun, you’ll want to reach for the sunblock.

When it comes to picking out a suitable sunblock, you may notice that there’s a wide array of different SPF’s you can pick from. SPF 15 will protect your skin from about 93% of the suns rays, SPF 30 is about 97%, and SPF 50 is about 98%. So while that SPF 100 might seem like the  best choice, you’re really past the point of diminishing returns.

Now that you’ve got your sunblock picked out, you’ll want to apply it at least 30 minutes before you head outside. Make sure you apply to any exposed skin, and if you’ve got a shirt on, don’t forget to get beneath the collar! You’ll also want to reapply your sunblock around every 2 hours that you’re outside.

While we’re on the topic, there’s a few myths we’d like to address.
1. Sunscreen/sunblock does not cause cancer. If anything, it can help prevent skin cancer!
2. There’s no such thing as a base tan. You don’t need to stop at the tanning salon before heading to the beach.
3. Spray oils aren’t necessary if you’re going in the sun.

Enjoying the weather

Now that you’ve got your sunblock on, it may seem like you’re ready for a day in the sun. But a trip to the beach can quickly turn into a trip to the emergency room if you’re not careful and haven’t planned accordingly. Before heading anywhere, and this applies to all seasons, check your local weather listing.  Nothing cancels a day of outdoor activities faster than a thunder storm.

Pay attention to your surroundings

Before heading into the water, make sure you make note of where lifeguards are stationed, along with any notices that may be posted. While the beach may be open, water quality can be less than ideal for small children and women who are pregnant. Also be aware of what warning signs might look like, as they can change from location to location. Make sure you stay aware of how far out from the beach you are, as rip currents can quickly pull you out farther than you may have intended to go.

Knowing Heat Disorders

There are five levels of heat disorder that can affect you. It’s important to know the signs of each.

Heat Stroke: The most severe of the five, someone suffering from heat stroke will have a high temperature, hot damp skin, and may even lose consciousness

Heat Exhaustion: A person suffering from heat exhaustion will have cold clammy skin and may feel nauseous or as if they are going to faint.

Heat Cramps: Indicated by potential cramping and spasms

Sun Burn: Self-explanatory, the skin will turn red and may be itchy and painful

Heat Rash: Small blisters on the skin.

All levels of heat exhaustion should be treated with the same level of severity.

Outdoor Cooking

Cooking on the grill is a staple of any summertime event, but it’s important to know how to handle the wares. If you’re using either a charcoal grill or a gas grill, know the proper procedure before you throw the food on.
While handling raw food, make sure to prevent cross contamination. It’s recommended you prepare any raw meat with disposable utensils, especially if you’re cooking away from home.
Make sure to wash your hands, either with soap and water or disinfecting wipes while prepping raw food.
Once the cooking is finished, it’s recommended you leave food out for no longer than 4 hours before refrigerating it.

Drinking & Celebrating

Celebrating the holidays with a drink or two is far from uncommon, but what is all too common are intoxication related injuries. Activities like boating and lighting off fireworks should be avoided if you are under the influence. If you’ll be out in the sun, make sure you’re taking in more water than alcohol.

To learn more, you can go to Department of Public Health’s website at It’s also recommended you go to Center for Disease Controls website,

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