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A Cautionary Tale Before the Total Solar Eclipse

By Sara Butler

Family Viewing Solar Eclipse

You may or may not have heard of this little thing happening on Monday, Aug. 21-- the solar eclipse. It turns out that it’s not a totally uncommon phenomenon and actually happens quite often in the middle of the ocean! But you will now be able to see it from across the United States, in some places better than others. The last time this technically happened, in which only the United States could see the eclipse, was way back in 1257. The United States didn’t exist then, of course -- but it gives you an idea of the scope of this historic happening.

At this point, you may be in the dark about what this has to do with chiropractic care. Well, in my world, just about everything can be linked back to chiropractic care in some way because you can’t go anywhere or see anything without your body! And you can’t keep your body in tip-top shape without chiropractic. So here are some health tips from your favorite chiropractors at The Joint Chiropractic to help make this once-in-a-lifetime eclipse a memorable experience!

Protect Your Peepers

Obviously, the biggest threat to your health when viewing an eclipse is the damage it can do to your eyes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the total eclipse itself is safe to watch -- it’s the partial eclipse before and after that can cause problems for those peepers. When you view a partial eclipse without proper protection, then it can cause permanent damage to your vision and perhaps even vision loss that can’t be reversed. You just have to be safe and use the proper eyewear to view this amazing galactic event.

So what do you need to do to view the eclipse safely? Buy special solar filter glasses or a handheld solar viewer. Any type of homemade filter, goggles, or sunglasses (no matter how dark) will not protect your eyes properly. And don’t look at the unfiltered sun through your smartphone, camera, or telescope either -- you can do damage that way, too. According to NASA, a welder’s mask is OK if the glass is shade 12 or higher.

You can find proper eclipse glasses and solar viewers at a lot of places. Just make sure they meet international safety standards. Never use glasses, even ones that meet safety standards, if they are:

  • Scratched
  • Wrinkled
  • Over three years old

Stay safe out there!

Finding the Best Spot to View

Even though the eclipse can technically be seen from about anywhere in the United States, there’s a narrow band stretching from Oregon to South Carolina where the viewing will be the best. I know a lot of people who will be traveling just to see the eclipse, so make sure when you’re in your car going to your destination you take precautions to protect your health. Be sure to take plenty of water to stay hydrated on your journey. Don’t forget, it’s summer and you need to keep your body hydrated as you travel to help counter the effects of different climates or sitting in the car for long periods.

Speaking of sitting in the car for long periods, I know you’re excited to get where you’re going but you have to remember to stop frequently to walk around and stretch. Sitting in the car without breaks can cause problems for your back. If you can stop once an hour and switch drivers, stretch your legs and back, and get your blood pumping, then you’ll feel much better when you reach your viewing destination.

The solar eclipse is pretty exciting -- it’ll be a memorable two minutes! Wherever you plan on viewing, just make sure you’re safe. And regale your chiropractor at The Joint with tales of it when you get back!

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