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Fact Or Fiction: Summer’s Outdoor Hazards

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(Source: KDKA-TV) Dr. Maria Simbra
Dr. Maria Simbra is an Emmy award-winning medical journalist, who...
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CBS Pittsburgh (con't)

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The overwhelming heat the area is experiencing can be hazardous to your health.

However, there are plenty of other things about summer that can stop us in our tracks too.

Many people may use polarized lenses to reduce the glare from bright sunlight. However, those lenses may not offer UV protection.

“Polarization does not equal UV. So, you have to make sure not only do you have a polarizing filter, but the lens is UV blocking as well,” Dr. Mark Clement with Gateway Eye Associates said.

Lenses that block ultraviolet rays will protect your eyes from cataracts, damage to the inside of the eye and skin cancer of the eyelids.

Summer also brings out the cooks. The black crust on beef and chicken in particular are thought to be linked to cancer.

“Unless you’re grilling meat every day for 50 years, I don’t think there’s any risk at all,” Allegheny General Hospital Cancer Specialist Dr. Jane Raymond said.

Avoiding the char, grilling vegetables instead and taking all things in moderation will reduce the risk.

Protecting yourself from infections spread by biting insects is a great idea. But, are the chemicals in bug spray safe? When used as recommended, yes.

“I would, as a rule, stick with a percentage of 30 or below. And if you even get above 10 percent, you may have diminishing returns,” Dr. Robin Gehris from Children’s Hospital said.

Pool chemicals keep us safe from infection, too. But are they harmful?

Chlorine binds up bacteria, but it can also combine with sweat and cosmetics.

“The thought is then together those products can make a product called chloramine, which has been shown to be potentially DNA damaging. I think the risk is really quite low,” Dr. Melissa Pugliano-Mauro from UPMC St. Margaret said.

You may be out working in your yard and come across poison ivy as well.

Topical steroids and anti-histamine pills can help with the rash. Washing the clothing you were wearing will keep you from repeatedly coming in contact with the leaf oil, which is what causes the reaction.

Another outdoor hazard can be injuring yourself on rusty metal and getting tetanus.

“There’s about 40 to 45 cases a year of tetanus, so it is still very important to make sure your tetanus status is up to date,” Dr. Christopher Deluca from St. Clair Hospital said.

There’s no reason to avoid summer fun. Just use caution and some common sense. For some of these concerns that involve things on your skin, a good soapy shower will also help reduce your exposure.

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