Enjoying Outdoor Activities Safely

By Lina Younes

As many families across the United States and Puerto Rico are getting ready for the unofficial kickoff of summer activities, there are some things to keep in mind to stay safe and healthy.

First of all, whether you are going to the beach, going camping, engaging in sports, gardening, or simply walking outside, remember to protect yourself from the sun and its powerful ultraviolet rays! Even on cloudy days, those powerful UV rays can harm you. So, what should you do before enjoying the outdoors this weekend or any day of the year? First check your UV ray index.  Two, put on sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Remember to reapply it every two hours and even more frequently if you have been in the water. Also, you should wear a hat, protective clothing, and sunglasses.

If you are prone to allergies or you have asthma, it is a good idea to check the air quality index in your community. If there is a higher level of air pollutants in your area at a certain time or you belong to one of the sensitive groups, try to limit your outdoor activities until the AQI improves

Are you planning a trip to the beach? Check out our new interactive tool to monitor the water quality at beaches called BEACON 2.0. You will find updated information on local beaches for the lower 48 states, Alaska, Hawaii, the US territories and tribes.

While you’re engaging in outdoor activities, there is another thing to keep in mind. What do you do to prevent insect bites? Well, apply insect repellents to your exposed skin and clothing as indicated on the product label. Don’t apply this product to eyes or mouth. Don’t let children handle the repellents either. You should apply it for them.

And after having fun under the sun, remember to reduce waste and whenever possible recycle.

So do you have any big plans for this Memorial Day weekend? Planning any green activities? We would love to hear from you.

About the author: Lina Younes is the Multilingual Outreach and Communications Liaison for EPA. Among her duties, she’s responsible for outreach to Hispanic organizations and media. She spearheaded the team that recently launched EPA’s new Spanish website, www.epa.gov/espanol . She manages EPA’s social media efforts in Spanish. She’s currently the editor of EPA’s new Spanish blog, Conversando acerca de nuestro medio ambiente. Prior to joining the agency, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and an international radio broadcaster. She has held other positions in and out of the Federal Government.