It’s Summer in the Sullivan Catskills – time to think about how you can protect your body’s largest organ, your skin, from UVB rays, pesky pests, and poisonous plants. Doctor Lauren S. Roman, a Catskill Regional Medical Group Primary Care Medical Director, shares her best advice…
Sunscreen: Apply, Repeat
The sun is a factor we should keep in mind year-round, but especially in the summer. We often don’t realize the damage the sun is doing to our skin in cold weather or on cloudy days, always wearing a skin protection factor (SPF) sunscreen. Be particularly diligent about reapplying periodically during the day in summer months, when the sun is at its strongest. Otherwise, we risk painful sunburns and the potentially serious side effects of sun damage, including skin cancer.
The ABCs of SPF
SPF indicates how long a sunscreen will protect you from the sun’s harmful UVB rays. A sunscreen with an SPF of 2 will provide protection for two hours. An SPF of 10 protects for 10 hours; and SPF of 30, for 30 hours and so on.
Did you know certain foods provide SPF power? Summer is the perfect time of year for fresh produce, so incorporating these healthy choices into your diet is that much easier: tomatoes, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, fresh herbs, dark leafy greens, citrus fruits, strawberries, and pomegranates. Green and black teas also have SPF properties and so does dark chocolate.
After sun care is also critical to maintaining healthy skin. There are plenty of moisturizers on the market that will help rehydrate your skin, but a natural approach is preferable. Aloe is a great after sun salve, and you can also add to it skin supporting essential oils, such as lavender.
Don’t Let Summer Pests Bug You
Bugs love summer as much as we do. So, when we get active, so do ticks, mosquitoes, and other pests. Bug sprays can help lessen the nuisance and deter nasty and potentially dangerous bites. The most effective bug sprays contain chemicals like DEET, which should be sprayed on clothing – not directly on the skin – prior to entering tick dense or buggy areas. You can also find bug sprays that use natural blends of plant-derived oils, such as lemongrass or citronella.
Bites & Break Outs
Bites and allergic reactions are best treated with prevention: don’t get bit and don’t touch poisonous plants. After any outdoor activity, get inside, leave your clothes in the laundry room and jump in the shower. It is the surefire way to wash off any ticks that may have climbed aboard, as well as the resins from poison ivy, poison oak or other poisonous plants. This way, these things don’t have a chance to interact with your skin and cause a rash or worse.
If you do get a bite or are unfortunate enough to contract poison ivy, applying calamine lotion or cool packs to the affected area can help take the sting and itchiness away. Over the counter medications like ibuprofen and antihistamines can also help relieve your symptoms.
With these few tips to prevent and relieve summertime skin irritations, you’ll be able to enjoy all of the fun summer has to offer, worry-free. But, if you do find yourself in need of medical care for a skin condition brought on by one of these summertime culprits, visit Catskill Regional Medial Group, with locations all over Sullivan County for your convenience.
Lauren S. Roman, MD
Dr. Lauren S. Roman is Board-certified in Family Medicine and is a lifelong Sullivan County resident. She received her medical degree from the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Studies and completed her internship and residency at the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center in Fort Hood, Texas.
About Catskill Regional Medical Group
Catskill Regional Medical Group (CRMG) is part of the Greater Hudson Valley Health System, comprised of the well-established and highly regarded Orange Regional Medical Center and Catskill Regional Medical Center. The Greater Hudson Valley Health System has been recognized by the Ethisphere Institute as one of the 2018 World’s Most Ethical Companies™. CRMG is a growing Urgent Care, Primary Care and multi-specialty, Hospital-supported medical practice. With Board-certified Physicians, Board-certified Family Nurse Practitioners and Board-certified Advanced Practice Professionals, our staff provides outpatient care servicing Orange, Sullivan, Ulster Counties and beyond. Walk-ins are welcome and same day appointments are available at offices in Callicoon, Harris, Livingston Manor and Monticello.