Summer travel: how not to sizzle your skin

The good folks at CNN have released a helpful guide and accompanying photo gallery horror show of solar ray-blasted epidermis. In “5 ways to avoid getting deep-fried,” you’ll find dermatologist’s tips to protect your sun from UVA/UVB damage, skin cancer detection links, and entertaining anecdotes of CNN reporters’ worst sunburns/precursors to melanoma.

I love the sun as much as most holiday-makers, but years of basting myself in baby oil, combined with the onset of crow’s feet in my early twenties and my mother’s own ongoing struggle with basal and squamous cell carcinomas have turned me into the Queen of Sunscreen. While my friends still mock me, and a former farmers market employer once remarked, “I can always tell when you’ve been hugging my dog, because he smells like sunscreen!” I feel vindicated because at 41, I look a good ten years younger, and have yet to develop my first pre-cancerous lesion. I get an annual screening at my dermatologist, and religiously apply a minimum of SPF 30 UVA/UVB sunblock over all exposed body parts (please remember the back of your neck, hands, ears, and knees, and tops of your feet).

Gadling has a more detailed explanation of what the heck all this SPF stuff means, and a guide to choosing sunglasses that do more than just look hip. I also wear, and heartily endorse (unpaid, of course) the sun protective clothing by ExOfficio, and sun protective hats by Outdoor Research. Sounds wacky, but these items are constructed with UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) textiles that, while not a substitute for sunblock, provide a great dual-defense system. They’re also attractive, and incredibly versatile and travel-friendly. Don’t hide from the sun this holiday weekend; just take precautions, have fun, and think of all the money you’ll save by not requiring reconstructive surgery and Botox.

(Image credit: Flickr/Saspotato)

Creek Wading: Safety Tips

As I was writing the creek wading post, I remembered a wading experience gone bad when I was 11-years old. A neighbor friend and I had headed out to wade in a creek near the apartment buildings where we lived in Columbia, South Carolina and were having a grand time. It was a glorious day. Our adventure turned sour when I stepped on something sharp and cut the side of my foot. I have no idea what I stepped on, but as soon as I felt it slice, I knew it was not good.

We had to wade back home in a hurry. Nine stitches later, I figured next time, better wear shoes. That’s one rule for wading in a creek safely. Closed toe shoes are optimal to sandals–although, I love this shot by fotogail on Flickr. Hers is an artistic aim. The title is Wading into the Abstract which is how I feel on most days.

Here are some other tips from Trevor Kugler I found in Ezine Articles:

  • 1. Always have a firm footing before taking the next step.
  • 2. Wading sticks can come in handy for helping you steady your footing.
  • 3. Work with the water. Basically, go where the water is going.
  • 4. If you are wading in deep water and are wearing waders, fix leaks before they get too big and distracting.

Here are some of my tips:

  • 5. Wade in water only if you can see the bottom.
  • 6. Watch out for glass and sharp objects. This could have saved me that emergency room trip.
  • 7. Don’t wade into water that’s moving too fast. Plan ahead. When my son and his friend were wading with me, I told them where to walk.
  • 8.. Watch out for mossy rocks and don’t step on them.
  • 9. Don’t be in a hurry.

Look for a post of wading footwear this afternoon.