BY DR PETER KADILE
April is the month for festivals and we will be hitting triple digits this week, so you need to be prepared. You should always recognize the importance of hydration and I can’t stress it enough. Make sure you drink enough water! Alcoholic beverages don’t count, so if you are drinking alcohol, make sure you balance it with enough water.
Sun protection is very important, so make sure you apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before you go outside. Dermatologists recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater, higher SPF if you are lighter or fair skinned. Choose a sunscreen that protects against UVB and UVA radiation. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and ranges from 2 to as high as 50. It refers to the sunscreen’s ability to screen or block out the sun’s harmful rays. The number stands for the length of time one can stay in the sun using the sunscreen before burning, compared to when not wearing a sunscreen. For example, if a person uses a sunscreen with an SPF 15, that person can be in the sun 15 times longer than without sunscreen before burning.
Make sure you bring the sunscreen with you so you can reapply. If you are dancing and enjoying one of the festivals in the heat, the sunscreen will sweat off, so follow the directions on the bottle on how frequently you need to reapply.
I frequently see patients after they have attended the festivals and they complain of severe allergy symptoms of runny nose, congestion and sneezing which sometimes progress into a sinusitis.
The high winds during the festivals kick up all sorts of nasty allergens, dust, sand and irritants which can commonly cause itchy, watery eyes, congestion, runny nose, cough, sore throat and sneezing associated with allergic rhinitis. Staying well hydrated, supplementing with vitamin C, vitamin D and omega 3 fish oils can help boost your immune system and help reduce allergy flare ups. Irrigation of the nasal passages with an over the counter Neti pot can help reduce the congestion and runny nose associated with allergy symptoms. Over the counter (OTC) medications, usually antihistamines, can be effective in the prevention and treatment of symptoms, but can have side effects, commonly drowsiness. Make sure you read the labels of the various OTC allergy medications to educate yourself on the possible side effects.
What if you get a sunburn?
– Apply a cool compress to the burned area
– Take a cool shower or bath
– over the counter anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen or naprosyn can help relieve the inflammation and pain
– Application of lotions containing aloe vera help to soothe and moisturize the skin. Some products used specifically for sunburn contain lidocaine, which is an anesthetic and can numb the sunburn pain.
– over the counter 1% hydrocortisone cream may help relieve the pain and itching