God’s Creation: The Joys and Concerns of Summer

God’s Creation: The Joys and Concerns of Summer

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Sunshine, heat, outdoor activities, flowers, birds, and bees, ticks, heat waves, humidity, and hurricane season, all are the joys and concerns of summer!  Are you ready? Are you prepared to protect yourself and your loved ones from sunburn, heat exhaustion, tick bites and potential loss of power, water or evacuation? Here are some reminders and resources from your Faith Community Nurse, Minister of Health and Wellness to help you stay safe and well.
 
Before you venture outdoors remember to stock up on sunblock, water and insect repellant. The sun’s UVA and UVB rays cause aging of the skin, increased risk of basal cell, squamous cell and melanoma skin cancers and damage to your eyes. A sunburn seems to disappear as the skin heals however the damage remains. The Skin Cancer Foundation suggests protecting yourself by wearing sunglasses, long sleeves, long pants and a hat as well as using broad-spectrum SPF 15 or higher sunscreen on exposed skin every day. If you are out in the sun or near water, use at least SPF 30 water resistant sunscreen and reapply every 2 hours. Try to stay in the shade between 10 am and 4 pm to avoid the highest time of intense sun. And of course, don’t forget to drink plenty of water!
 
Insects love the summer weather too. If you are outdoors near the water or on a hike you may encounter mosquitos and ticks. To prevent tick bites, wear light-colored clothing on legs, and tuck the pant legs into your socks to keep bugs out and so you can spot any ticks quickly. Insect repellant is also helpful. Apply a repellent containing DEET to clothes and exposed skin and apply permethrin (which kills ticks on contact) to clothes. Cover up or use insect repellant to prevent mosquito bites which may carry West Nile Virus and other diseases. Make sure you do not have mosquito breeding, standing water on your property to reduce the number of mosquitos in your area.
 
Now is also the time to prepare or replenish your emergency kits for your home, car and office.  UCC Disaster Ministries and the Insurance Board produced  A Disaster Preparedness Manual for Churches available to download. This manual and the SNEUCC Disaster Resource and Response Team offer checklists for your church and home to guide you through the information that needs to be at hand should an emergency strike as well as items to include in your supplies to survive for 5-7 days without power or public services.
 
It is hard to prepare if you are not aware, so sign up now for your local emergency notification systems: CT Prepares, MA Be Prepared for Emergencies, RI CODERED. If you have special needs such as medical devices requiring power to operate, oxygen, mobility issues that limit your ability to evacuate, vision, hearing, or behavioral disabilities it is important to register with your local emergency response so you will get the help you need. Registration information is available on the emergency notification links above.
 
Have fun, relax and rejuvenate this summer while remaining aware and being prepared!
 
You can find more information at:
American Red Cross     FEMA     SNEUCC Summer Safety (PDF)

 

Author

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Deborah Ringen

Deborah Ringen MSN, RN-BC is a Faith Community Nurse and the Minister of Health and Wellness for the Southern New England Conference, UCC.

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