NASHVILLE – The Great Tennessee Air Show, set for May 12 & 13 in Smyrna, is a wonderful opportunity to see some amazing aircraft. Tennessee Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH, says it’s also a good opportunity to teach children about safe summer fun.
“For several hours each day, thousands of children and adults will be staring into the sky, watching aerobatics and fly-bys,” said Dreyzehner, a former U.S. Air Force flight surgeon. “Parents can be role models by using sunscreen with high sun protection factors, or SPFs, and by wearing broad-brim hats and sunglasses with ultraviolet protection.”
“Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S. and much of it can be prevented,” Dreyzehner said. “Many people mistakenly think skin cancers that develop from sun exposure can be surgically removed and that’s the end of the problem. It’s not always so. Skin cancers can migrate to other parts of the body and can be fatal.”
Some medications, doxycycline used for certain infections and acne for example, can make skin much more sensitive to the sun. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if a medication you or your children are taking could increase your risk for a severe sunburn.
Other sun protection advice from the Tennessee Department of Health:
- Wear light-colored clothing, which does not absorb heat as rapidly as dark-colored clothes.
- Drink lots of fluids, and drink before you feel very thirsty. Water is best.
- Light athletic shoes are a good choice. Sandals can expose the tops of the feet to damaging rays, so use sunscreen on your feet if you wear them.
- Avoid eating heavy, high-calorie food that generates body heat.
- Wear ear plugs when you attend noisy events like air shows.
“We know children mimic adult behavior – good and bad – so learning about safe summer practices as early as possible is very important,” said Michael Warren, MD, MPH, FAAP, a pediatrician and director of Family Health and Wellness for TDH. “Events such as the Great Tennessee Air Show offer an excellent way to teach in a fun atmosphere and foster life-long good health.”
The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. For more information about TDH services and programs, visit http://health.state.tn.us/.