Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer, and many families commemorate the holiday together by grilling and hanging out by the pool. Experts at Baylor College of Medicine offer advice on how to have a safe and fun Memorial Day weekend while spending time outdoors.
Protect your eyes
If you typically wear contacts, you might want to take them off before you get in the pool. “Swimming in contacts can cause irritation, minor infections and even severe infection, such as a corneal ulcer,” said Dr. Sumitra Khandelwal, assistant professor in ophthalmology at Baylor.
Khandelwal also says wearing sunglasses is the best way to protect the eyes from strong UV rays. “The skin around the eye is a big hot spot for small cancers to develop over time. Wear large sunglasses to protect your eyes and surrounding areas from strong UV rays,” she said.
Dr. Rajani Katta, clinical assistant professor of medicine at Baylor, says protecting your skin is the best way to decrease the risk of developing skin cancer. “Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with both UVA and UVB protection with an SPF of at least 30. Be sure to reapply sunscreen every two hours,” she said.
If you get sunburn or skin irritation from swimming, Kim Chang, aesthetician with the Baylor Aesthetics Studio, says using aloe vera is a great way to sooth the skin.
In addition to applying sunscreen and aloe vera on the skin, it is important to protect your feet by wearing foot protection around the pool. “Be sure to wear sandals around the swimming pool to avoid warts and fungal infections from walking around barefoot,” said Dr. Ronald Lepow, a podiatrist and assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at Baylor.
Pool and swimming safety
Another expert says to be mindful when walking on wet surfaces. Most head, neck and back injuries during the summer are from falls from slipping on a wet surface. See a doctor immediately if you have severe headache, chest pain, difficulty breathing, abdominal pain, dizziness or fainting.
Most importantly, never swim alone. Even the most experienced swimmer could suffer an injury or experience distress and need help.