Tuesday, July 2, 2002
Director of Communications
(401) 831-7700 x101
Red Cross Urges Rhode Islanders to "Play It
Safe" in the Sun and Surf This Upcoming Holiday Weekend
Note: The Red Cross began its "Summer Swim" program this week at Burlingame State Park in
Charlestown. If you are interested in filming/interviewing kids or lifeguards, please contact Robin Erickson at 401-831-7700 x101.
With scorching temperatures predicted this week, and many Rhode Islanders
planning to enjoy the Fourth of July holiday, the American Red Cross of Rhode Island is urging Ocean State residents to keep safety in mind when heading
outdoors. Whether it's the Bristol Parade, a backyard barbecue or a day at the beach, these reminders:
Protect your skin: Sunlight contains two kinds of UV rays -- UVA increases the
risk of skin cancer, skin aging, and other skin diseases. UVB causes sunburn and can lead to skin cancer. Limit the amount of direct sunlight you receive between
10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. and wear a sunscreen with a sun protection factor containing a high rating such as 15.
Drink plenty of water regularly and often even if you do not feel thirsty: Your body needs water to keep cool. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them. They
can make you feel good briefly but make the heat's effects on your body worse. This is especially true with beer, which dehydrates the body.
Watch for signs of heat stroke: Heat stroke is life-threatening. The victim's
temperature control system, which produces sweating to cool the body, stops working. The body temperature can rise so high that brain damage and death may
result if the body is not cooled quickly. Signals include hot, red, and dry skin; changes in consciousness, rapid, weak pulse, and rapid, shallow breathing. Call
9-1-1 or your local EMS number. Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the body by wrapping wet sheets around the body and fan it. If you have ice packs
or cold packs, place them on each of the victim's wrists and ankles, in the armpits and on the neck to cool the large blood vessels. Watch for signals of breathing
problems and make sure the airway is clear. Keep the person lying down.
Wear eye protection: Sunglasses are like sunscreen for your eyes and protect
against damage that can occur from UV rays. Be sure to wear sunglasses with labels that indicate that they absorb at least 90 percent of UV sunlight.
Wear foot protection: Many times, people's feet can get burned from the sand or
cut from glass in the sand.