August is here and that means the summer sun is out in full effect. It can be a wonderful time of year to get outside and enjoy your favorite summer activities. Baseball games, pools, bike rides, picnics in the park, and going on a hike are all great ways to enjoy the beautiful weather. The last thing we want to do is bring down your summer vibes, but everyone needs to be mindful of staying safe under the sun.
August is Summer Sun Safety Month. Everyone loves clear blue skies on a bright sunny day, but we must protect ourselves from the sun’s powerful ultraviolet radiation (UV). The sun does provide us with Vitamin D but too much sun exposure can put us in harm’s way. Too much UV Radiation can cause several negative health effects that range from eye damage, immune system suppression, skin damage (sunburn), and even skin cancer.
To protect ourselves from the dangers of too much UV exposure, we can look at a few helpful tips to stay safe and keep having fun. Sun protective clothing is a great choice especially when they have a UPF of at least 30, which will provide sufficient sun protection. The newest lines of UPF clothing are also lightweight to allow the users to enjoy a good swim or hike in the heat without feeling overheated. Hats, long sleeve shirts, pants, and sunglasses can be a good alternative to sunscreen, especially in states that have bans on certain sunscreen chemicals that may be harmful to people’s health or the environment. If you plan on traveling to a location to snorkel or scuba dive near a coral reef, be sure to check to see which sunscreens are considered safe to avoid damaging the coral reefs.
Using a safe broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with the proper SPF can also provide much-needed protection. Depending on your activities and time spent in the sun, it may not be enough to apply it only once. Reapplying sunscreen is highly recommended every couple of hours especially when you are sweating or swimming.
Sometimes, even with our best efforts, we can still get sunburned. Sunburn damage can range from mild discomfort to more serious side effects including nausea, chills, fever, and confusion. The more serious the effects may need to be treated by a doctor. For the milder effects of sunburn be sure to drink plenty of water. Sunburn has a dehydrating component that pulls fluids to the skin’s surface, so extra water consumption can help the skin recover. Also try to cool down by applying cold compresses and soothing lotions containing aloe vera, both are a great way for your skin to release the heat. If the sunburn pain is concerning, try an anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen to decrease the pain to a more tolerable level.
So, let’s all remember when we are outside enjoying the summer sun to be mindful of its powerful UV rays. Let’s keep everyone safe outdoors by using and reapplying sunscreen, wearing sunglasses, hats, and other clothing that can protect us from UV radiation. The sun’s UV rays can be strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. so be aware of the time of day you are outside as well. August is an amazing time of year, and we hope to see you playing outside while also playing it safe.