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Skin Inc. Magazine Wishes You a Happy Fourth of July!

Posted: July 3, 2008

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Apply sunscreen both before and during an outdoor party. Ultraviolet rays from the sun can cause both premature aging and skin cancer in the long term, and a painful burn the next day. Even those with darker skin should use a sunscreen with a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 15, according to recommendations from the American Academy of Dermatology. Check prescription medications you are taking to assure you will not have a sun-sensitizing drug reaction to the medication.

If you'll be hiking or camping in an area where ticks are abundant, wear long-sleeved, light colored shirts and long pants tucked into socks or boots to protect yourself from tick-borne diseases. For your skin, you can use a tick repellent with no more than 30% DEET according to the manufacturer's instructions. Products containing DEET should not be used on children less than 2 months of age and should not be applied to the hands or face of young children. Check yourself and your pets for ticks at the end of the day.

Spend adequate time indoors or in the shade and drink plenty of fluids to avoid heat illness in extremely hot climates. The risk of heat illness is increased when participating in strenuous activity or sports, and those with chronic medical conditions and the elderly are also at an increased risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Alcohol consumption can also promote dehydration and increase the risk.

Keep children away from campfires and grills. Gas leaks, blocked tubes and overfilled propane tanks can be a cause of grill fires and explosions.

Don't leave the picnic spread out all day. Allowing food to sit in outdoor temperatures can invite foodborne illness. The U.S. FDA suggests never leaving food out for more than one hour when the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and not more than two hours at other times. Foods that need to be kept cold should be placed in a cooler with plenty of ice or freezing packs and held at a maximum temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit. While mayonnaise and other egg dishes are often associated with food poisoning, any food can potentially become contaminated. Adequate hand washing and food preparation can also help prevent food poisoning.