1. What does the "SPF" mean on Sunscreen? If it has a higher SPF, is it better?
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. The SPF rating is figured out by looking at the amount of time needed to produce a sunburn on protected skin versus the amount of time needed to cause a sunburn on unprotected skin. So for example, if it takes you 10 minutes for your skin to produce a sunburn without protection, and you apply SPF 4 before going out into the sun, this sunscreen will protect you for 40 minutes before your skin will produce a sunburn.
A higher SPF will protect your skin longer from producing a sunburn, however, just because it is a high SPF doesn't mean your skin is FULLY protected. There are 2 types of Ultra Violet (UV) light rays that we need to be concerned with - UVA and UVB. UVA light rays are the most dangerous to your skin and can cause your skin to look aged beyond its years, not to mention can be a cause for skin cancer. UVB rays are what cause your skin to "tan."
When choosing a Sunscreen, you want to look for a "broad spectrum" coverage and a relatively high SPF. You want protection from UVA and UVB light rays. Look for ingredients like avobenzone, zinc oxide, or titanium dioxide. Consult your Walgreens Pharmacist if you need help picking out your Sunscreen.
2. What happens if I get stung by a Jellyfish?
If you get stung by a Jellyfish while swimming, you most likely will experience a raised welt, stinging, burning, itching, and some tingling. Do not put fresh water on the affected area. Ideally, soak the area with white vinegar to prevent any of the Jellyfish toxin from being absorbed by your body. If you do not have vinegar, use some ocean water and 70% isopropyl alcohol. Make a paste with some sand and water and apply over the affected area. Next, gently scrape with a blunt edge like a credit card. This will remove any remaining parts of the Jellyfish. Finally, treat the itching with diphenhydramine (Benadryl ®) and hydrocortisone cream. Treat any remaining pain with iburprofen or acetaminophen. Be sure to check with your Walgreens pharmacist to make sure none of these interact with medicines you take. If you experience symptoms other than those listed above, have trouble breathing or the condition does not get better, seek medical attention.
JellyFish Squish, available at the 38th Ave. Walgreens, is a great product to help with itching and pain from a Jellyfish sting.
3. My eyes are all red from swimming in the pool, what can I use?
The best remedy for this is an eye lubricant like "Artificial Tears ®." This will help rinse out the eyes. Avoid eye drops that contain a redness reducer as they can cause stinging and discomfort. Redness reducer can sting. If the redness persists after a few days or a yellowish discharge develops, contact your doctor.
4. I've been swimming and I think I have water in my ears, what can I do to get it out?
This is known as "swimmer's ear." Water can get trapped down in the ear during swimming. Products like Auro-Dri® or W Brand Instant Ear Dry® contain alcohol and lubricant which can help dry out the excess water before bacteria can begin to grow. If the water remains in there for too long, bacteria can grow which may result in an ear infection. You can use ear plugs to prevent water from getting down in the ear. If you use the Auro-Dri® or W Brand Instant Ear Dry® and your ear still is painful and/or a fever develops, contact your doctor. If your child has tubes in his/her ears, contact the doctor before using any of these products.