Solar Eclipse Safety Tips: Protect Yourself, Your Loved Ones and Pets
While not quite as long as the World Series drought for the Chicago Cubs, it has been quite a long time since a total solar eclipse occurred. On June 8, 1918, a total solar eclipse crossed the United States in much the same manner that is predicted for Monday, August 21, 2017. Society in the early 20th century is much different than today. But one thing remains the same: You need to be safe during a solar eclipse. In preparation for Monday’s once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon, also known as the “Great American Solar Eclipse,” we are sharing solar eclipse safety tips so you can be protected along with your loved ones and pets.
Solar Eclipse Safety Tips
According to NASA, more than 300 million Americans could view the total solar eclipse on Monday. Living in Florida, we will not be in the total solar eclipse path like our northern neighbors in states such as South Carolina, Tennessee, Colorado and Oregon. Nevertheless, it is predicted that the Tampa Bay area and west-central Florida region will experience a 60- to 80-percent solar eclipse, which should start at about 1:15 p.m. and be over by 4:15 p.m.
Growing up, we were constantly being reminded to not look directly at the sun as it will ruin your eyes. And the same strategy holds true with a solar eclipse, you still should NOT look directly at the sun with your naked eye.
What Can Happen to Your Sight?
Although witnessing and checking out the solar eclipse can very well be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, you can cause serious harm to your sight that could last a lifetime. Your outer eye can be damaged by the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, and the intensity of the light from the sun can adversely affect your eye’s focal point.
About now you are probably thinking that you can just steal a glance of the sun behind the lenses of your sunglasses? Unfortunately, this is a bad idea. Your eyes will not have adequate protection from the harmful rays of the sun with standard-issue sunglasses. Instead, you need glasses that meet the International Standards Organization (ISO) requirements, which mean that 100 percent of UV rays and infrared light are blocked along with 99.99 percent of intense visible light.
How can you be sure that your solar eclipse glasses are up to snuff? The glasses should have the special ISO code on them, ISO 12312-2. If in doubt, you can always have an eye care specialist check to make sure the glasses are safe.
What to Do if You Can’t Get Solar Eclipse Glasses
If you are unable to locate or purchase a pair of solar eclipse glasses, NASA recommends the following options:
- Purchase a specially designed sun filter, which can often be found at stores that sell telescopes
- Wear a pair of welder’s glasses (No. 14)
- Make a pinhole viewer out of a piece of cardboard. Click here for a how-to DIY video.
The American Automobile Association shared some great tips on keeping safe on the road during the solar eclipse:
- Get off the road and safely park away from traffic if you want to view the eclipse.
- Don’t stop along the highway, interstate or park on the road’s shoulder.
- Don’t rely on automatic headlights—keep your headlights on.
- While driving, don’t wear eclipse glasses.
- Don’t try to photograph or videotape the eclipse while you are behind the wheel of your car.
- Be alert for people who might be walking around looking at the sky but not mindful of where they are in relation to traffic.
- During the eclipse time period, prepare for extra traffic and road congestion.
- Try to avoid travel during the eclipse.
Just like humans, your pets’ eyes need to be protected against the sun’s rays during the solar eclipse. Yet, your pet will likely not feel compelled to look directly at the sun.
The following are some tips to keep your pets safe during the solar eclipse:
- Try to avoid taking your pet out for a walk during the eclipse. If an outdoor walk is unavoidable and you happen to have an extra pair of solar eclipse glasses, you can always put them on your pet. But don’t be surprised, if the pair of glasses is not well-tolerated.
- Keep your pet indoors with the blinds drawn
At Chapters Health System and its affiliates—Good Shepherd Hospice, HPH Hospice and LifePath Hospice, every day is devoted to educating our patients and keeping them in the place they call home. We are dedicated to ensuring that patients, young and old alike, and their families are able to make educated decisions about important healthcare matters. For more information, please call our helpful Chapters Health team at 1.866.204.8611 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Phoebe Ochman
Phoebe Ochman, Director of Corporate Communications for Chapters Health System, manages all content and communications for the not-for-profit organization.
Dispelling Solar Eclipse Myths
In ancient times, the lack of understanding why a solar eclipse occurs caused myths and superstitions to develop. Think about it: All of a sudden the sun disappears, so wouldn’t you be scared? Thus, various cultures created their own reasons why.
In Asia, many believed that mythical creatures ate the sun. The culprit in Vietnam was a giant frog; and for the Chinese, the sun was lunch for a celestial dragon. According to Korean folklore, the sun disappeared because mythical dogs stole it.
The other issue, at hand, was that people living in ancient times had no idea when, if at all, the sun would return. To bring the sun back, many cultures would bang pots and pans or make loud noises with the hope that the sound would scare away the demons that took possession of the sun.
Even Now …
Even in modern times, there are still countries around the world that hold fast to antiquated superstitions. They believe that death, destruction and disasters occur because eclipses are evil omens. People living in certain parts of India fast during a solar eclipse due to the belief that food cooked during the eclipse is not pure and may even be poisonous.
Despite all the negative-slanting thoughts and feelings about a solar eclipse, there is a positive take on the matter. If you plant flowers during the solar eclipse in Italy, it is believed that the blooms will be more colorful and brighter.