by Kimberly Blaker
Freelance Lifestyle Writer
Family Time Magazine, June 2016
Summer Sun Safety Guide for You & Your Family
The worst sunburn I ever experienced was from laying out on an overcast day. I laid out an extra long time thinking I couldn’t get much of a tan given the conditions. That seemed especially true since at the time I could hardly see any color change to my skin. I was terribly mistaken. Soon after I got home, my skin was bright red, and the pain set in. I was unable to wear clothes and called in sick for two days.
Aside from a serious sunburn, there are other equally important reasons to take extra precautions, especially during the hot summer months.
The risk of skin cancer is the most widely recognized problem resulting from sun exposure. To reduce your risk:
- Avoid afternoon sun.
- Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher fifteen minutes before you go out and then every two hours.
- Look for products carrying the Skin Cancer Foundation’s blue seal of approval.
- Wear clothing that covers arms and legs and a hat to shade your face.
The sun’s rays also cause damage to our eyes. Exposure can cause cataracts and damage part of the retina, the cornea, and the lens. Cheryl Khanna, M.D. of Mayo Clinic
recommends wearing sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays. Wrap around or close fitting glasses are the best designs to block out as much UV rays as possible.
During warmer months, the risk of dehydration and heat exhaustion also increases. Drink several glasses of water every day of the year, especially during warmer months. If you’ll be in the sun or heat for any length of time, take plenty of water or sports drinks filled with electrolytes. Try to restrict physical activity outdoors to cooler parts of the day.
Summer Sun Safety Guide for Children & Babies
Sun exposure also increases the risk of cancer to children. This is especially of concern for babies due to their sensitive skin. Also, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, a sunburn on a baby can be much more serious and result in high fever, dehydration, blistering, and heat stroke.
Keep babies out of the direct sun from 10 am to 4 pm. Dress them in lightweight clothing that fully covers their bodies and hats or sun bonnets with 4” brims. For travel, place babies in the center position of the back seat, or cover windows with a UV-blocking film. Finally, to keep infants and young children hydrated, carry Pedialyte. This is an excellent source of electrolytes.
Kimberly Blaker is a freelance lifestyle writer.