Summer is upon us. The days of covering up in coats and sweaters have been replaced with spending sunny days poolside. With all this summer fun to be had, it’s important to keep in mind the dangers that spending time in the sun can bring. Sunburn and heat exhaustion can dampen even the brightest of sunny summer days.
Sunburn is a very common summer problem. Skin that is red, painful, and often hot to the touch, is often sunburned. This condition can appear a few hours after sun exposure and can take several days to fade away. Very intense, repeated sunburn can increase your risks of certain cancers, including melanoma. Other skin conditions caused by sunburns can include liver spots and dry, wrinkled skin.
There are certain precautions that you can take to prevent sunburn, including;
• Wearing sunblock – A broad-spectrum sunblock with an SPF of 30 or greater is ideal. Be sure to apply sunblock generously and re-apply every two hours and after swimming or excessive sweating. It takes 20 – 30 minutes for sunscreen to be absorbed by the skin, so it should be applied at least a half an hour before going out in the sun.
• Covering up – Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs. Also, a broad-brimmed hat that covers your ears offers better sun protection than a sun visor or a baseball cap. There is also special clothing available that is designed specifically for sun protection.
• Avoiding peak sun times – Avoid excessive sun exposure between 10 am and 4 pm, when the sun’s rays are strongest. Try scheduling outdoor activities for other times of day, and if you must be outside during these hours, seek shade often and use sunblock.
Heat Exhaustion is a common heat related illness that has the potential to be life-threatening. The signs of heat exhaustion often begin very suddenly and often occur after spending time outdoors performing a strenuous activity. Symptoms can include:
• Feeling dizzy
• Excessive sweating
• Cool, moist, pale skin
• Rapid, weak heartbeat
If someone exhibits the symptoms of heat exhaustion, it is important to get that person out of the sun – preferably into an air conditioned room. Give the person cool water to drink, remove any excess clothing, and have them lie down. If symptoms do not improve, seek medical help.
It is important to take steps to avoid over-heating yourself. Wearing loose fitting clothing, avoiding sunburn, and drinking plenty of water are all good ways to prevent heat exhaustion.