Originally created 06/02/04

Summer survival guide

Summer days mean fun in the sun. But sun can be a killer. Protect yourself and your family. Here are five things you need to know.

Sun Protection

1. Skin cancer - the most common cancer in the country - is increasing at an alarming rate, especially serious melanomas. Although melanomas make up the smallest percentage of all skin cancers, they cause the most deaths because they are more likely to spread.

2. Know the Risks

Anyone can develop melanomas, but certain people are at higher risk. Risk factors include:

  • fair skin

  • a history of sunburns

  • excessive sun exposure

  • a sunny or high altitude climate

  • a family or personal history of skin cancer

  • a weakened immune system
  • 3. Take These Preventive Measures

  • Avoid the sun between 10 a.m.-3 p.m., and don't use tanning beds.

  • Wear sunscreen year-round.

  • Wear protective clothing.

  • Be aware of sun-sensitizing medications.
  • 4. Watch for These Signs and SymptomsSee your physician if you have an existing or new mole that fits the ABCDs of melanoma.

  • A is for asymmetry, or irregularly shaped moles.

  • B is for borders that are notched, scalloped or vaguely defined.

  • C is for many colors or an uneven distribution of colors

  • D is for diameters larger than a pencil eraser.
  • Moles that are scaly or itchy, change texture, spread into surrounding skin, have a discharge or bleed should also be examined.

    5. Follow These Screening Guidelines

    Adults between the ages of 20-40 should have head-to-toe melanoma exams every three years, then annually after 40. Everyone 18 or older should conduct monthly self-exams.

    For more information on melanoma or help finding a physician, call University Hospital's Cancer Line at 706/828-2522 or toll free at 866/869-2522.

    Water Safety

    When it's hot there's nothing better than a dip in the pool or lake. But those calm waters can turn deadly if everyone isn't diligent about safety. Sure you've heard all this before, but it never hurts to reinforce the rules - no matter how old you are.

  • Learn to swim. There are plenty of classes available.

  • Always swim with a buddy; never swim alone. Swim in supervised areas only. Obey all rules and posted signs.

  • Watch out for the "dangerous too's"‹too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun, too much strenuous activity.

  • Don't mix alcohol and swimming. Alcohol impairs your judgement, balance, and coordination, affects your swimming and diving skills, and reduces your body's ability to stay warm.

  • Pay attention to local weather conditions and forecasts. Stop swimming at the first indication of bad weather. Know how to prevent, recognize, and respond to emergencies.
  • Internet Safety

    The computer is a great way to keep the kid's brain working and keep them out of the sun during those peak hours, but it potential harm is just as great. Here are five tips to keep your kids safe.

  • Keep your computer in a visible area, such as a living room or other common house area, rather than in a child's bedroom where parental monitoring is more difficult.

  • Choose a family-friendly Internet service provider. A list of family-based providers can be found in the Parent's Guide to Internet Safety available online at georgiafamily.org.

  • Consider installing a filter and monitoring software on your home computer. Filters have become more advanced, allowing children to view harmless information while blocking more harmful sites. One of the most popular parent-friendly filters is Cyber Patrol available at www.cyberpatrol.com. Monitoring software allows parents to monitor where the computer has been on the Web . Knowing a parent views the computer's Internet trail regularly is often the best deterrent for children.

  • Supervise your child's Internet access. A parent can recognize questionable sites and inappropriate communication by potential predators better than a child. Use search engines like Yahoo and Google that provide ways to screen out potentially harmful material. Learn all that you can about the computer and the Internet. Your job as a good parent depends on your ability to monitor what is going on with your home computer.

  • At an appropriate age, teach your children about the dangers of pornographic material - they need to hear this from you. Be aware of sudden changes in your child's behavior, such as a loss of interest in social activities or a lack of interest in self-appearance or a lack of sleep. This, coupled with increased computer usage, may be a warning sign that your child is viewing inappropriate material.
  • Day Trips!

  • Downtown Augusta: Walk along Riverwalk, ride the Petersburg boats, browse the shops, have lunch in any of the dozens of trendy restaurants. Between Fort Discovery, the Morris Museum, the Augusta Canal Interpretative Center and the Augusta Museum of History there's more than enough to do in one day.

  • Bike the canal: It may be seven miles from the pumping station to the Old Lock and Dam, but it's an ride easy enough for even young children. Take a picnic and stop along the banks of the river. A family favorite: turtles sunning on rocks in the canal.

  • Phinizy Swamp: When you really look at swamp land you discover that it's a world unto itself. At Phinizy Swamp Nature Park you get a chance to enter this strange world and see the sights and sounds of a very different environment.

  • Thurmond Lake: It's big, it's beautiful, it's so much fun. There are plenty of public beaches, picnic grounds and walking paths at the numerous state, federal and local parks that dot the pristine shoreline

  • Hitchcock Woods: This 2,000-acre unique southern forest is nestled in the heart of the bustling city of Aiken. All along the beautiful paths for walking trails are unique sites and geographic areas that make this a delightful and peaceful place to spend a day.
  • Summer Movie Releases

    This summer there are plenty of family-friendly movies set to be released. Here are some of the best:

    Shrek 2 (PG)
    Opens May 21
    Shrek (Mike Myers) and Fiona (Cameron Diaz) return from their honeymoon to find a dinner invite from Fiona's parents, the King and Queen of the Kingdom of Far, Far Away. They heard their daughter had wed, but they assumed she married Prince Charming and are shocked at the arrival of two green ogres and a donkey (Eddie Murphy). Wanting to break up the couple, the King enlists the help of Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas).

    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (PG)
    Opens June 4
    This third installment of the Potter series has Harry beginning his third year at Hogwarts. Sirius Black - an escaped convict from the prison of Azkaban - is on the loose, and there's only one thing he wants: Harry. But why?

    Opens June 11
    This live-action film version of the Jim Davis comic strip features a CGI main character voiced by Bill Murray, and Breckin Meyer as Jon Arbuckle, Garfield's owner. Jon brings home a cute, lovable doggie named Odie, whom Garfield can't stand, of course. When Odie is kidnapped, Garfield feels guilty and determines to find and return the pup.

    Two Brothers (PG)
    June 15
    Twin tigers, one bold and one shy, are born in a city of ruins in French Indochina and are soon captured. The bold brother is forced to become a circus performer, while the shy sibling becomes the companion of a governor's son. But an accident leads the governor to sell the animal to an adventurer (Guy Pearce) who reunites the beasts as combatants pitted against each other in a fighting match.


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