Monday, September 1, 2014

Seaman Wellness

Welcome to our district wellness council site. Our mission is to promote healthy behaviors and lifestyle choice through on-going education and to empower students and staff to take responsibility for their own health. On this site you can find tips for healthy habits, recipes, and other ideas to better the wellness of your life. Use the Important Links section to help you find the specific information you are looking for, whether it's the Staff Wellness Challenge, healthy recipes, or parent tips. Let's work together to promote wellness among our staff, students and community!

Seaman's Wellness Policy

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We all love the warm sun.  The sun's rays make us feel good, but our love affair isn't a two way street:  Exposure to sun causes many of the wrinkles and age spots on our faces and is the number one cause of skin cancer.  In fact, sun exposure causes many of the skin changes that we think of as normal aging.  Over time, the sun's ultraviolet (UV) light damages the fibers in the skin called elastin.  When these fibers break down, the skin begins to sag, stretch, and lose its ability to go back into place.  The skin also bruises and tears more easily -- taking longer to heal.  So while sun damage to the skin may not be apparent when you're young, it will definitely show later in life.

As the school year ends and we all have more opportunities to be out in the direct sunshine we need to review these tips on protecting our skin from the sun's rays. 

Avoid the Strongest Rays of the Day

First, seek shade when the sun is at its highest overhead and therefore strongest (usually 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. in the northern hemisphere).  If you must be in the sun between these hours, be sure to apply and reapply protective sunscreen - even if they're just working or playing in the backyard.  Most sun damage occurs as a result of incidental exposure during day-to-day activities, not at the beach.

Even on a cloudy, cool, or overcast days, UV rays travel through the clouds and reflect off sand, water, and even concrete.  Clouds and pollution don't filter out UV rays, and they can give a false sense of protection.  This "invisible sun" can cause unexpected sunburn and skin damage.  Often, kids are unaware that they're developing a sunburn on cooler or windy days because the temperature or breeze keeps the skin feeling cool on the surface.

Make sure you don't use tanning beds at any time, even to "prepare" for a trip to a warm climate.  Both UVA and UVA/UVB tanning beds produce sunburn.  And there is an increase in the risk of melanoma in people who have used tanning beds before the age of 35.

Cover Up your Skin

One of the best ways to protect your skin from the sun is to cover up and to create a shield from UV rays.  You can ensure that clothes will screen out harmful UV rays by placing your hand inside the garments and making sure you can't see it through them.  Don't forget hats with wide brims to shadow the face and for all-day outdoor affairs, bring along a wide umbrella or a pop-up tent to play in.  Before heading to the beach or park, call ahead to find out if certain areas offer rentals of umbrellas, tents, and other sun-protective gear.

Use Sunscreen Consistently

Lots of good sunscreens are available, including formulations for sensitive skin, brands with fun scents like watermelon, long-lasting waterproof and sweat-proof versions, and eash-application varieties in spray bottles.  What matters most in a sunscreen is the degree of protection from UV rays it provides.  When faced with the overwhelming sea of sunscreen choices at drugstores, concentrate on the SPF (sun protection factor) numbers on the labels.

For kids age 6 months and older, select and SPF of 30 or higher to prevent both sunburn and tanning.  Choosing a sunscreen that states on the label that it protects against both UVA and UVB rays (referred to as "broad-spectrum" sunscreen).  In general, sunscreens provide better protections against UVB rays than UVA rays, making signs of skin aging a risk even with consistent use of sunscreen.  To avoid possible skin allergy, don't use sunscreen with PABA; if you have sensitive skin, look for a product with the active ingredient titanium dioxide.

For sunscreen to do its job, it must be applied correctly.  Be sure to:
  • Apply sunscreen whenever kids will be in the sun.
  • Apply sunscreen about 15 to 30 minutes before kids go outside so that a good layer of protection can form.  Don't forget about lips, hands, ears, feet, shoulders, and behind the neck.  Lift up bathing suit straps and apply sunscreen underneath them (in case the straps shift as a child moves).
  • Don't try to stretch out a bottle of sunscreen; apply it generously.
  • Reapply sunscreen often, approximately every 2 hours, as recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology.  Reapply after a child has been sweating or swimming.
  • Apply a waterproof sunscreen if kids will be around water or swimming.  Water reflects and intensifies the sun's rays, so kids need protection that lasts.  Waterproof sunscreens may last up to 80 minutes in the water, and some are also sweat- and rub-proof.  But regardless of the waterproof label, be sure to reapply sunscreen when kids come out of the water.
Use Protective Eyewear

Sun exposure damages the eyes as well as the skin.  Even 1 day in the sun can result in a burned cornea (the outermost, clear membrane layer of the eye).  Cumulative exposure can lead to cataracts (clouding of the eye lens, which leads to blurred vision) later in life.  The best way to protect eyes is to wear sunglasses.  Not all sunglasses provide the same level of ultraviolet protection; darkened plastic or glass lenses without special UV filters just trick the eyes into a false sense of safety.  Purchase sunglasses with labels ensuring that they provide 100% UV protection.

Double-Check Medications

Some medications increase the skin's sensitivity to UV rays.  As a result, even people with skin that tends not to burn easily can develop a severe sunburn in just minutes when taking certain medications.  Fair-skinned kids, of course, are even more vulnerable.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist if any prescription (especially anitbiotics and acne medications) and over-the-counter medications your child is taking can increase sun sensitivity.   If so, always take extra sun precautions.  The best protection is simply covering up or staying indoors; even sunscreen can't always protect skin from sun sensitivity caused by medications. 

 May Wellness Website Information 
Arthitis Awareness Month
Arthritis Foundation
1330 West Peachtree Street, Suite 100
Atlanta GA
(800) 283-7800
(404) 965-7595 Fax
Better Hearing and Speech Month
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
2200 Research Boulevard
Rockville MD 20850
(800) 498-2071
(301) 296-5700
(301) 296-8580 Fax
Healthy Vision Month
National Eye Institute
National Institutes of Health
Building 31, Room 6A32
31 Center Drive
Bethesda MD 20892
(301) 496-5248
(301) 402-1065 Fax 
Hepatitis Awareness Month
Division of Viral Hepatitis
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Rd, G-37
Atlanta GA 30033
(404) 718-8596 Voice

Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and
Prevention Month
American Academy of Dermatology
930 East Woodfield Road
Schaumburg IL 60173
(888) 462-DERM (462-3376)
(847) 330-0230
(847) 330-0050 Fax

Mental Health Month
Mental Health America
2000 North Beauregard Street, 6th Floor
Alexandria VA 22311
(800) 969-6642
(703) 684-7722
(703) 684-5968 Fax 

National Asthma and Allergy
Awareness Month
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
8201 Corporate Drive, Suite 1000
Landover MD 20785
(800) 7-ASTHMA (727-8462)
(202) 466-7643
(202) 466-8940 Fax 

National Osteoporosis Awareness and
Prevention Month

National Osteoporosis Foundation
1150 17th Street, NW, Suite 850
Washington DC 20036
(800) 231-4222
(202) 223-2226
(202) 223-2237 Fax 
National Physical Fitness & Sports Month
Pesident's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition
Suite 560, Tower Bldg.
1101 Wotton Parkway
Rockville MD 20852
(240) 276-9567
(240) 276-9860 Fax
National  Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month
Advocates for Youth
2000 M Street NW, Suite 750
Washington DC 20036
(202) 419-3420
(202) 419-1448 Fax   
Food Allergy Awareness Week
Food Allergy Research & Education
7925 Jones Branch Dr., Suite 1100
McLean VA 22102
(800) 929-4040
(703) 691-2713 Fax