Summer Sun Safety

By Lupina Fry, Wellness Nurse

When the temperature reaches into the 90’s some of us head for the air conditioning indoors, while others head for the sunny outdoors! The longer days beckon us to enjoy the sunshine and the activities available to us. Whether it’s a barbecue with family and friends, or just a walk outdoors, it’s important to be careful of the greater exposure to the sun’s rays and the accompanying heat. While there might be some precautions we know by heart, there can be many misconceptions.

For instance, sunscreen is helpful but alone is not enough. Apply sunscreen to any exposed skin including, scalp, upper back and other hard to reach areas, a full ounce at least 15 minutes before heading outdoors and again every two hours. Sunscreen becomes less effective over time as well, so reapply regularly.

Don’t forget to grab a stylish pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes as well. If you like your sunglasses, you’re more likely to wear them. Blockage of 99-100% of UVA/UVB rays is standard for sunglasses made in the US today. Single gradient, shaded only on top, are great for driving; double gradient, shaded
bottom and top, are best if you’ll be involved in activities or sports.

Seek shade whenever possible, wear light colored clothing that covers any exposed skin. Consider a wide brimmed hat to protect the delicate skin on ears and neck. Dr. Vernon Sondak, Chair of the Cutaneous Oncology Program at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida has this useful phrase- “slip, slap, slop”. “Slip” on protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirt and long pants; “slap” on a brimmed hat and sunglasses; “slop” on a lot of sunscreen.

Remember to stay hydrated, as well! Start your day with a full glass of water, drinking at least two more before heading to any outdoor activity. If engaging in strenuous activity continue drinking those important fluids. Lastly, try to avoid sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are the strongest. Keeping these precautions in mind will help make your summer a safe and more enjoyable one!

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