6 Tips on Staying Safe in the Sun for the Holiday
Enjoy the benefits of summer weather this 4th of July without putting yourself at a higher risk for sun exposure repercussions. Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays cause dehydration and heatstroke, but beyond heat-related incidents, its rays increase the risk for sunburn and peeling, skin aging, and skin cancer.
All of these sun related conditions are often seen and treated by healthcare professionals and providers, and this time of year with 4th of July fun rolling in, they are extra busy handling these cases. As you’re enjoying your festivities this year, keep in mind that these rays reflect off water, sand, pool and deck concrete surfaces, making sun protection especially important.
Learn how you can protect yourself while still enjoying the sunny weather this holiday:
Make sure you are applying sunscreen generously and frequently – every 2 hours anytime you are outdoors. The recommended type of sunscreen to use is a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more. Wherever your skin is or may be exposed, be sure to apply! This is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself from the sun’s rays.
Whip Out Your Sunglasses
Now is the time to bring out your stylish studs. Although a fashion accessory, their most important job is to protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Most lenses offer adequate UV protection, but if you are in doubt or want a stronger protection, check in with an optometrist.
Limit Time Spent in the Sun
It’s important to limit your time spent in the sun, especially when the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays are the strongest, between 10 am and 4 pm. Whether you’re hanging by the pool area or at the beach this summer holiday, make sure you’re seeking shade and circulating over to an indoor area.
Be safe – plan ahead. If you’re anticipating to be out in the hot weather, be sure to check the National Weather Service. They post the UV index daily by zip code and if it’s real high, an alert will be issued to keep the time spent in the sun to a minimum.
Check Your Medication
There are certain types of medicine that can cause sensitivity to the sun. Depending on the medication, it can contain ingredients that will cause a chemically induced change to the skin – photosensitivity. This can cause sunburn-like symptoms, rash, and possibly other unwanted side effects.
Make sure to reduce these risks ahead of time. If you are taking any medications and have concerns about having a reaction, check in with your healthcare professional or pharmacist before stepping out in the sun. Enjoy fun in the sun at a safe cost!
Examine Your Skin
It’s important to examine your skin head to toe at least once a month, especially if you know you will be spending extra long hours in the sun due to summer festivities and activities. If you perform regularly, examining your skin can alert you to changes and assist in early detection of skin cancer. Self-examination should take no more than 10 minutes – a small investment to protecting your health!
The recommended full-body self exam is once a month, but it is always important to check in with your doctor to determine whether you need more frequent checks. You may also find it helpful to schedule an appointment at least once a year through your healthcare provider to assure you any existing spots, freckles, moles or changes in your skin are normal.
Be a role model for safer sun actions. Your skin, eyes, and immune system will thank you!
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