“Fight the Bite – Hydrate Right – Respect the Sun’s Might”
Summer is fast approaching and that means plenty of opportunities for outdoor fun and adventures across Tennessee. Thousands of music lovers will visit Nashville and Manchester June 9 through 12 for the CMA Music Festival and Bonnaroo. Thousands more are expected for Elvis Week in Memphis Aug. 10 through 16 and in Bristol for Bristol Motor Speedway’s NASCAR event Aug. 20. For all these activities and many more, the Tennessee Department of Health reminds fun-seekers to ‘Respect sun’s might, fight the bite and hydrate right.”
“We are blessed to have an amazing abundance of outdoor activity opportunities in our beautiful places and spaces every Tennessee summer. Don’t we want to enjoy them without worry?” said Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. “Even if they don’t make us sick, bug bites, sunburn and dehydration can spoil some fun, so it helps to remember to ‘Respect the sun’s might, fight the bite and hydrate right.’”
TDH reminds Tennesseans that preventing tick and mosquito bites, while always important, is more crucial this year in light of international concerns about Zika virus disease. There is no vaccine to prevent Zika virus disease and no medicine to cure it. While its symptoms are mild in most people, it can cause the birth defect microcephaly if a mother is infected with it while pregnant.
“Although Zika virus disease can be transmitted sexually, in most cases it is acquired when a mosquito bites an infected person and then moves on to bite someone else,” said TDH State Epidemiologist Tim Jones, MD. “Thus far we have not had this type of Zika transmission in Tennessee. We are hopeful more people will understand how serious the disease can be for pregnant women, and that they will take appropriate steps to protect themselves, and ultimately others, from harm.”
“This summer maybe it’s time to think differently about coming together for a great event or hosting and add a couple of questions to what we ask our friends and guests: Can I get you a cold drink? How about some sunscreen? Ready for some repellent?” Dreyzehner said. “Like knowing what your friends’ favorites are, it shows we care and are thinking about their comfort and their health.”
“Respect the Sun’s Might”
To prevent damage to skin and eyes from potentially harmful UVA and UVB rays, TDH recommends:
• using a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF rating of 30 or higher and applying it as recommended;
• slipping on a hat to protect the face, head, ears and neck;
• being aware of time outside from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when the sun is strongest;
• wearing sunglasses that provide 100 percent protection against UVA and UVB rays.
To see more information about sun safety, visit www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/sun-safety.htm.
“Fight the Bite”
To prevent mosquito and tick bites, TDH recommends:
• Put any sunscreens on first, then apply repellants to skin often. These can include lotions, liquids or sprays. TDH and CDC recommend use of repellants that contain DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane 3, 8-diol and IR3535. Duration of protection varies by repellant; read labels on products to determine when reapplications are necessary for optimal protection. To learn more about insect repellants, visit http://cfpub.epa.gov/oppref/insect/.
• Wear ‘long, loose and light’-colored shirts and pants and wear socks. Tucking shirts in pants and tucking pants into socks will help form a barrier. Wear closed shoes or boots instead of sandals.
• For more complete protection, especially in higher-risk situations, treat clothing with permethrin or purchase pretreated permethrin clothing.
• In locations lacking window screens and/or air conditioning, the use of bed nets is advised. These should reach the floor or be tucked under the mattress. In camping situations, make sure tent screens are in good repair, zip flaps and make sure mosquitoes have not gotten inside.
• Avoid perfumes, colognes and products with fragrances that might attract mosquitoes.
For more information on avoiding tick and mosquito bites, visit wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2016/the-pre-travel-consultation/protection-against-mosquitoes-ticks-other-arthropods.
Seeking shelter during the brightest part of the day is a good way to reduce the risk of harmful sunburn; it can also help your body cool down. Drinking water is another way to protect yourself from summer heat and is critical in protecting your body’s organs. TDH hydration recommendations include:
• Drink when you feel thirsty. Simple, and it turns out your body’s thirst mechanism is really good at judging when you need water; it’s best to pay attention to it. Don’t overload on water and don’t get too behind.
• Cold water is a great way to rehydrate. Flavor it for variety.
• Limit or avoid too many caffeinated drinks (some sodas, tea and coffee); they may cause some people to urinate more frequently or cause anxiety or a feeling of nervousness.
• Limit or avoid drinks with high amounts of sugar and sodium. Read the labels.
For more information on hydration, visit www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/nutrition/index.html.
The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. TDH has facilities in all 95 counties and provides direct services for more than one in five Tennesseans annually as well as indirect services for everyone in the state, including emergency response to health threats, licensure of health professionals, regulation of health care facilities and inspection of food service establishments. Learn more about TDH services and programs at www.tn.gov/health.