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July 2009: Summer is in full effect

                It’s the 4th of July again!  We all want to celebrate God and country and family with outdoor barbeques, fireworks and cool beverages.  Let’s just remember that not all parts of this great nation permit personal fireworks so you should check with your locality for the safer way to enjoy fireworks where they may be a sponsored event.

            It’s clearly Fireworks Safety Month as well as Eye Injury Prevention Month.  Your eyes cannot be replaced.  Yes, the lens and the cornea can be but only if you are healthy enough and there’s no guarantee you will see as well.  Eye injuries are fairly common throughout life and usually are due to sports injury or avoidable hazard (e.g., no eye protection worn while doing household repairs or chores).  Whether you are weed-whacking outdoors or using equipment indoors, be sure to wear eye protection.  We all know of interesting if sad stories of people receiving irreparable eye injuries.  One example is of a young man in his 20s (now in his 50s) who lost sight in his left eye because he had his face up close to his stereo system and was fiddling with a toggle-knob that flew right into his eye and destroyed his sight that fast.

            July is UV Safety Month.  We have all been made aware of the effects of sunlight and related skin cancer dangers.  However, we often don’t purchase the correct UV protection when we buy sun block.  This can be complicated.  For the most part, you want sun block that blocks both UVA and UVB rays.  If you are concerned about PABA (an ingredient in many sun block products) – para-aminobenzoic acid – you need not be because most sun block products are made with other ingredients now because of the allergic reactions some people had with PABA.

            Finally, 12-18 July this year is National Therapeutic Recreation Week.  This can be for a wide audience and not just for severely disabled people. 

            Log onto http://www.recreationtherapy.com/ to find out how therapeutic recreation can restore, remediate or rehabilitate in order to improve functioning and independence as well as reduce or eliminate the effects of illness or disability.  ANY one of us who has had an injury or illness that has left us unable to be as active as we would like could learn from this form of therapy.

            Finally, from 19-25 July we celebrate Everyone Deserves a Massage Week.  Massage is not only essential to newborns who have had to be away from their mothers, but is a basic part of being human.  Humans have five senses including touch and it has been proven through many psychological and physiological studies that being touched and touching others are key to a healthy human life.  Primates deprived of touch do not thrive.  Even a stuffed animal gave baby monkeys something to hold and hug and helped them grow even without their real mothers.

            The key to enjoying July is knowing what to touch and what not to touch:  don’t touch fireworks; hug your loved ones!