It is finally here – the warm weather, the days are longer, and there is more time to be outside doing all kinds of fun activities. Whether you decide to go to the beach or go hiking, there is no magical shortcut to sun protection. If you are going to be out under the scorching heat, you need to stay safe. Find out more about sun safety.
The Costs of Sun Exposure
Longer, brighter days have been proven to boost your mood. In fact, getting enough sunshine helps the body to produce vitamin D. However, you do not need to sunbathe for long periods to get vitamin benefits. Prolonged exposure to the sun can cause serious health problems.
The sun gives out ultraviolet (UV) radiation. And the more your skin is exposed to harmful UV rays, the higher your risk for skin cancer. UV rays can cause damage to the DNA found in your skin cells, causing the cells to grow out of control. Skin cancer usually develops years after the first sun damage.
Spending time in the sun can also cause other health problems such as heat exhaustion, heatstroke, and dehydration. The good news is that they are things you can do to stay safe, even in the hot weather.
Here are some tips to stay safe in the sun while still having fun.
The human body needs about 64 ounces of water every day to function properly, which is why you should hydrate often. If you are active in hot weather, the body produces more sweat to regulate body temperature. Therefore, you will need to drink plenty of fluids to replace what is lost.
Pack frozen water bottles that you can drink anytime, anywhere. Also, remember that beer, sodas, and other diuretic drinks can cause dehydration.
2. Apply sunscreen
Wear sunscreen and keep reapplying it throughout the day, especially before and after spending time in the water. The recommended standard of using sunscreen is every 2 hours, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. When applying sunscreen, do not forget to include your lips, neck, and other areas of the body.
Most dermatologists recommend using sunscreen with at least 30 SPF. These will block 97% of harmful UVB rays from the sun.
3. Move into the shade
If you are on the beach or mountain, you can still enjoy your surroundings without compromising your safety. Walk or rest in areas with shade to protect yourself against the sun. You can also bring an umbrella, a hat, and sunglasses. In addition to sun protection, moving into shade helps reduce the chances of overheating.
4. Limit sun exposure
If possible, try to limit the amount of time you are in the sun. Between 10 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon is when the sun rays are the most intense. For sun safety, always practice the shadow rule. If the shadow is shorter than you, it means that the sun’s rays are at their strongest, and you should move into the shade.
5. Be Cautious
If you are taking certain medications, it is important to know that some may make you more sensitive to the sun. Be extra cautious in you are taking antibiotics, anti-inflammatory, and blood pressure medications.
6. Learn First Aid for Sunburn and other Summer Injuries
Accidental sunburns can result in sore skin, irritation, and might even blister. You may also notice redness and texture to the skin.
Cool the skin and apply a moisturiser, lotion, or gel to the affected area. You can also take pain relievers such as Ibuprofen to help with the pain and swelling. These first aid measures cannot repair long-term sun damage, but they can ease symptoms.
Other sun-related illnesses are from extreme heat. It can result in heatstroke, heat exhaustion, or heat cramps. Be aware of the warning signs of heatstroke and perform CPR if necessary.
The sun does not have to be your enemy if you follow these safety tips. Wear sunscreen, drink water, and move into the shade when you start to feel too hot.