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updated: 6/17/2013 6:38 AM

Take our summertime health hazard quiz

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  • Use sunscreen when outdoors.

    Use sunscreen when outdoors.

  • Be careful when coming in contact with poison oak

    Be careful when coming in contact with poison oak
    SHNS photo

  • Use sunscreen when outdoors.

    Use sunscreen when outdoors.

  • Ticks


  • Mosquitoes are an annoying summer pest for most people.

    Mosquitoes are an annoying summer pest for most people.

By Virginia Linn
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Ready for summer? How much do you really know about the day-to-day conditions and hazards you may encounter?

Take this summer safety quiz to find out.

(Answers follow.)

Sun exposure

1) A SPF of 15 will absorb how much ultraviolet radiation?

a. 15 percent

b. 50 percent

c. 67 percent

d. 93 percent

2) True or false: A SPF of 100 provides 100 percent protection.

3) Which type of ultraviolet light contributes to a risk of skin cancer?

a. Only ultraviolet A

b. Only ultraviolet B

c. Both ultraviolet A and B

4) To protect against both ultraviolet A and B rays, choose this kind of sunscreen:

a. One enriched with vitamin D

b. Broad-spectrum

c. Waterproof

d. SPF 100

5) The Food and Drug Administration considers a sunscreen product "waterproof" if it maintains its SPF level following how much time exposed to water?

a. 4 hours

b. 2 hours

c. 80 minutes

d. 35 minutes


6) True or false: Eating garlic or vitamin B will make you naturally repellent to mosquitoes.

7) If you plant a lot of this type of flower in your yard it may cut down on visiting mosquitoes.

a. Daisies

b. Roses

c. Chrysanthemums

d. Impatiens

8) Mosquitoes are attracted to this color (so don't wear it!):

a. Yellow

b. Blue

c. Orange

d. Red

9) Prime attack times for mosquitoes are:

a. Dusk

b. Noon

c. Dawn

d. Both dawn and dusk

10) Which of these methods help ease the itching from a mosquito bite?

a. Wash the bite with soap and water

b. Ice the bump

c. Dissolve one tablespoon of Epsom salts in one quart of hot water, chill it and apply to the bite

d. Put the hottest water you can stand on a cloth and slap it on the bite.

e. All of the above

Poison ivy

11) True or false: You cannot get exposed to the toxic oil on poison ivy unless its signature three leaves have appeared on its stem.

12) At what time of year is poison ivy's toxic urushiol content the highest?

a. August

b. July

c. Spring, early summer

d. Late summer, early fall

13) What percentage of the population is resistant to poison ivy?

a. 30 percent

b. 15 percent

c. 10 percent

d. 5 percent

14) True or false: It is possible to get a rash from exposure to dead poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac plants.


15) Deer ticks are active above what temperature?

a. 70 degrees

b. 45 degrees

c. 65 degrees

d. 55 degrees

16) Infected deer ticks attached to your skin don't start transmitting Lyme disease until how many hours after attachment?

a. 36 to 48 hours

b. Six hours

c. 12 to 24 hours

d. One hour

17) Patients can develop these symptoms if bitten by a deer tick carrying Lyme disease:

a. Bull's-eye rash

b. Muscle or joint aches

c. Headache

d. Weakness and fever, swollen lymph nodes

e. All of the above

18) If you find a tick attached to your skin, this is the best way to remove it:

a. Grasp the tick with tweezers as close to the skin as possible and twist it out

b. Place a hot match near its head to force it to release its grasp and back up out of your skin

c. Cover it with a dab of petroleum jelly before pulling it out with tweezers

d. Grasp the tick with tweezers as close to the skin as possible and pull it straight out gently and steadily

Odds & ends

19) When preparing for a long-distance summer car trip, how many tires should you check on your car?

a. Front two

b. Back two

c. All four tires

d. Five tires

20) According to AAA, which problem on the list below accounts for the most vehicle breakdowns during the summer?

a. Dead battery

b. Flat tire

c. Overheated engine

d. Broken window wipers

21) If you're picnicking in temperatures above 90 degrees, what is the maximum amount of time that items needing refrigeration should stay out of the cooler?

a. Two hours

b. Three hours

c. One hour

d. Thirty minutes

22) A relative humidity of what percentage can hamper sweat evaporation to the point it can hinder your body's ability to cool itself, which could lead to heat exhaustion and other problems?

a. 90 percent

b. 80 percent

c. 70 percent

d. 60 percent

23) If you're stuck in a riptide in the ocean:

a. Dog paddle toward shore

b. Dive under the waves toward shore, kicking feverishly

c. Swim parallel to shore roughly 50 to 100 feet

d. Float on your back as if you're on a Lazy River

24) If you're stung by a jellyfish (in North America), what's the quickest way for someone to treat the skin?

a. Rinse it with freshwater

b. Rinse it with saltwater

c. Urinate on it, as depicted in a 1997 episode of "Friends"

d. Rub it with sand

Bonus questions

(For the true adventurer)

1) A crocodile can hold its breath up to this long under water:

a. One hour

b. Half-hour

c. 15 minutes

d. 20 minutes

2) What creatures kill more humans than any other animals in the world?

a. Snakes

b. Sharks

c. Mosquitoes

d. Bees


1) d.

2) False -- nothing provides 100 percent protection

3) c.

4) b.

5) c.

6) False

7) c. Chrysanthemums contain pyrethrum, a derivative of which is used in propane foggers. Insect repellents made for pets also contain this flower derivative, which causes the insects to have spasms and fall to the ground.

8) d.

9) d.

10) All of the above

11) False -- you can be exposed to the toxic oil even if leaves haven't come out yet

12) c.

13) b.

14) True -- in fact, the urushiol remains active for years

15) b.

16) a.

17) e.

18) d.

19) d. -- this includes the spare

20) a. -- extreme heat can be just as damaging to batteries as extreme cold in the winter

21) c.

22) d.

23) c. -- instead of swimming against the rip current, swim perpendicular to it in either direction. Rip currents are typically only 20-100 feet wide. Once you leave the rip, swim at an angle away from it toward shore. Or d. -- you can sometimes float away from the riptide.

24) b. -- saltwater deactivates the nematocysts that release the painful venom. A freshwater rinse will change the balance of solutes, setting off more stinging.

Bonus No. 1): a.

Bonus No. 2): c. -- because of the diseases they spread, (malaria, filariasis, dengue, yellow fever, etc.), which thankfully are rarely found in North America.

Sources: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette research, "The Mosquito Book," by Scott Anderson and Tony Dierckins (Dennoch Press, $6.95). American Melanoma Foundation; American Academy of Dermatology, American Lyme disease Foundation, American Automobile Association, Scientific American, WebMD.

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