Serious threat in too much sun

This month I, along with my fellow Kansans, will be enjoying the summer month of July. The month brings all kinds of fantastic activities including firing up the grill, enjoying baseball and celebrating America's Independence Day. Along with all of these outdoor activities comes sun exposure.

One big concern is sun-overexposure or sunburns. More than likely most of us have experienced sunburn.

Essentially, a sunburn occurs after excessive sun exposure. For each individual the word "excessive" means something different. While some people can be in the sun for hours, others will notice skin irritation and discomfort in a matter of minutes. The individual response to sunlight is quite variable depending on the number of times of severe exposure, skin type and genetic determinants. There are several variables that can be considered: A history of sunburn with minimal exposure to sunlight; fair skin; light-colored hair; current use of photosensitizing medications with sun exposure (some common medications include Ibuprofen, Aleve, Naproxen and other NSAIDs {Non Steroid Anti Inflammatory Drugs} and certain antibiotics.

The above medication list is certainly not all inclusive so if you have questions always feel free to contact your physician, health care provider or pharmacist.

As with many health concerns, prevention is the key to success in dealing with sunburns:

1) Sunscreen: The American Academy of Dermatology recommends a sunscreen of SPF (Sun Protective Factor) 30 or higher. Use only sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum coverage; water resistance; check the expiration date, as with most products the potency and effectiveness can wane with time.

2) Avoid UV exposure: The typical hours of excessive sun exposure can occur between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. A person can still be exposed to excessive UV light during cloudy days.

3) Clothing: If you know your outing will entail long periods of sun exposure, consider loose-fitting clothes with long sleeves. Some manufacturers have come out with SPF ratings. Wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses are excellent considerations as well. Some sunglasses manufacturers have also come out with UVA/UVB information about their products.

The above interventions can be considered for children as well. We have to remember with kids as well as some adults they very well may have sensitive skin. Considering this, if you notice skin irritation with any product including sunscreen contact your physician or health-care provider immediately. For children under the age of 6 months the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends avoidance of excessive sun exposure. The use of protective clothing is highly recommended. Also, a small amount of sunscreen (SPF of greater than or equal to 15) may be applied to small areas (face, back of hands, neck) when shade and additional protective clothing are not readily available.

July is a wonderful month. But, enjoy it safely and protect yourself and your family from a potentially painful experience from the Kansas sun. Unfortunately, with repeated sunburn comes the possibilities of sun-damaged skin and skin cancer.

If you have any further questions or concerns, never hesitate to contact your physician or health-care provider.

CHARLES WEINTZ, D.O.,

Johnson City

Dr. Weintz is a family physician at Stanton County Family Practice.

Shameless act in local theft

To the thieves who stole the flowers off my mother's and grandparents' graves at Valley View Cemetery:

What is wrong with you people? Have you no shame? This may not be Mayberry, but it's a nice, little town with more respectable people than you. Where and how were you raised? It shows.

JO HARNESS,

Garden City

Generous move on Father's Day

Five of our family dined at the Lonestar Restaurant on Father's Day. As we were finishing our meal, the manager informed us that our tab had been paid by an anonymous individual. To that person: many thanks for your generosity and kindness.

R.M. PICKLER,

Ulysses