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Mary Darden- Oncology Nurse Practitioner- certified in Integrative Oncology

Summertime means outdoor activities for many, especially during this time of the pandemic. Many of us have felt cooped up in our homes over the last 3 months and are venturing out to have some fun in the sun! Here are some helpful hints on ways to enjoy the outdoors while avoiding illness or injury.

  • Wear sunscreen, protective clothing and sunglasses while enjoying the pool, lake or beach to avoid overexposure to UV rays from the sun!  30 SPF sunscreen is recommended. Avoid exposure to the sun during peak hours of the day from 10-2. These measures will help reduce your risk of developing skin cancers and cataracts.
  • Seasonal allergies can flair up when spending time outside. Using a Nedi pot to rinse the sinuses is one option (just don’t use tap water but rather distilled or boiled water that is room temperature.) Over the counter antihistamines and nasal steroids may also relieve symptoms and are safe.
  • Ticks abound this time of year. After hiking or walking in talk grass check yourself for those pesky little critters that can cause Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses such as Rocky Mountain Spotted fever and STARS- Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness. Wearing pants and shirts with long sleeves can reduce risk of exposure. Also applying insect repellents may help. Check with your doctor as a single dose of antibiotic may prevent the transmission of tick-borne illness after a tick bite. Don’t forget to call your oncologist if you are currently on treatment and are bitten by a tick!

If you find a tick and it is embedded here’s how to remove it. How to remove a tick

  1. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
  2. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
  3. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
  4. Never crush a tick with your fingers. Dispose of a live tick by putting it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet.

The above instruction are recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control.

What ever you do, get outside, have some fun and stay well! Oh, and don’t forget to wear a face covering if near others and stay 6 feet apart! Even Outside!