SUMMER SAFETY TIPS
After this last winter, we are all certainly looking forward to spending quality time outdoors in the sun. Here are some simple tips for staying safe while spending time in the sun.
Remember that sunscreen can help prevent some forms of skin cancer and can reduce wrinkle development in the skin.
- Use sunscreen correctly – studies have shown that users typically apply half of the sunscreen necessary, so double up and use about 6 tablespoons per application – about the size of a golf ball.
- Use the right type of sunscreen – The higher the SPF level the better the protection. The SPF level is not the length of time you can stay in the sun. SPF is the fraction of sunburn-producing UV rays that reach your skin. For example, SPF 10 means that 1/10 of the burning radiation will reach your skin. If you get a sunburn within 10 minutes of being in the sun, when you apply SPF 10 sunscreen, you will burn in 100 minutes (typical sunburn time x SPF level).
The best sunscreens to use are broad spectrum sunscreens. Broad spectrum sunscreens protect from both UVA and UVB sun rays.
- Reapply sunscreen every two hours – Consumer reports conduced a test and 30% of sunscreens tested had SPF levels lower than advertised. A good practice is to reapply every two hours no matter what SFP levels you are using.
- Wear protective clothing – It’s a good idea to wear a hat that can keep the sun off of your head and clothing that will keep the sun off of your body. As a test, hold clothing against a light. If the light can pass through the material, the sun can as well. Darker clothing absorbs harmful sun rays.
- Drink plenty of water – if you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Your urine should be light yellow and odor free. You should drink a 12 ounce cup of water before and during each meal and one in-between each meal.
- Hydrate the day before rigorous exercise – avoid drinking alcohol and drink 16 ounces of water the day before rigorous exercise in the heat. Drink 16 ounces of water before you exercise and 12 ounces every 20 minutes you exercise.
- For long periods of exercise in the sun, consider sports drinks – These drinks contain potassium and salt that are lost during the exercise process.
- In addition to water, you can drink coffee or tea. A recent study by the National Research Council found that the amount of water in coffee and tea more than offset the diuretic effect of caffeine in these beverages.
- Don’t forget fruit and vegetables – Certain fruits and vegetables can help you stay hydrated. These include: pineapple, pears, watermelon, cantaloupe, mango, apples, peaches, cucumber, eggplant, and bell peppers.
- Get help if you don’t feel well – if you feel lightheaded or sick after being in the sun for an extended period of time, get out of the sun and into the shade, drink cool water taking small sips. If the symptoms persist or worsen, seek medical attention.
After all the snow we had this winter, we deserve to have some wonderful spring and summer weather. Enjoy your time in the sun and stay safe!