SUN SAFETY TIPS
It’s summer and time to enjoy being outdoors. That means, among other things, greater sun exposure. We’ve all heard about the dangers of ultraviolet rays damaging our skin. But many are under the impression it takes a lot of time over a period of years to do it. Is that true?
No, it’s false. According to experts, ultraviolet rays, often called UV rays, can do skin damage in as little as 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes. That means we must take steps to protect ourselves. How? Let’s take a look at some protective tips:
You’re safer in the shade than baking in the sun. But even in the shade you need protection. Sunscreen and clothes that are protective—long sleeves, long pants or skirts—are highly recommended. On clothes, many think light colors are safest. Is that true?
Not according to experts. They say darker colors are highly likely to offer more protection. And to use sunscreen in addition. Check the UV rating. Higher ratings are better than lower ratings.
Always wear sunglasses with total UV protection when in the sun. Your eyes are fragile and vulnerable. Don’t forget kids’ need sunglasses, too. Wearing them, experts say, reduces the risks of cataracts and damage to the tender skin around the eyes (which wrinkles easily). Contact lenses offer UV protection, too. Do yours have it?
Hats get a huge thumbs up from advisors. Shading your eyes, the delicate skin on your face, and helping reduce UV rays. Canvas hats with brims that are wide and go all the way around are great. Straw, being woven, has holes and lets more UV rays in. Again, go for darker colors. And if you’re thinking about a baseball cap or a visor instead of a hat with a wide brim all around, you’ll need to do more to protect the back of your neck, your ears, and areas not shaded by the cap or visor’s brim. More sunscreen!
What about sunscreen?
Use SPF 15 as a minimum if you’re in the shade, or it is a cloudy and cool day. If you’re spending more time in a place with direct exposure up that SPF rating. Use sunscreen on all exposed skin and avoid overexposure to direct sun.
Don’t forget that you can’t apply sunscreen once and expect it to last the entire time you are outside. Reapply sunscreen no less than every hour and a half—more often if you’re swimming or sweating. Be lavish with it. The skin is your largest organ and needs added protection.
Take a break from the sun from 10 am thru 2 pm. That’s the time when your skin is at highest risk from sun.
Look up the symptoms of heat stroke. How long or how hot your body can handle sun depends on you and your body. Know the symptoms and be on the lookout for them.
Stay hydrated. If you’re outdoors and prespiring, you need more water, which helps cool the body. Forego sugary drinks and alcohol and opt for water instead.
Many docs recommend avoiding tanning beds. If you’re considering using one, check with your doc first so that you fully understand the risks.
Check your prescription medications. Many carry warnings to avoid prolonged sunlight or direct sunlight. Some even instruct you to avoid artificial sunlight.
Check your cosmetic products. Many cosmetics contain SPF 15 UV protection, which is good, but, like sunscreen, most cosmetics wear with swimming and sweating and time and become less effective. Be aware of the need for added protection. It’s warranted.
If you think all these tips are an overreaction, well, they aren’t. Here’s why:
Skin cancer is the most common cancer. According to the Surgeon General, over 4.3 million people were treated for just two types in a single year. Basal cell and squamous cell.
The most serious form of skin cancer is melanoma. If you think it can’t zap you, think again. In a single year, the Center for Disease Control reported an estimated 71,943 cases. And projections are, the number of cases is on the rise.
So do what you can to limit your exposure, to protect your skin and eyes and avoid early aging from exposure to the sun. Reduce your risks by heeding the safety tips. And also remember, it doesn’t have to be summer to take precautions. Regardless of weather or season, if you’re outdoors and exposed, you are at risk.
With a few precautions taken consistently, you’re positioned to best enjoy your summer and its outdoor activities.
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© 2017, Vicki Hinze. Vicki Hinze is the award-winning bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. Her latest release is Down and Dead in Dallas. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s website: www.vickihinze.com. Facebook. Books. Twitter. Contact. KNOW IT FIRST! Subscribe to Vicki’s Monthly Newsletter!