Aug 9, 2022
My Top Sun Safety Tips for Summer
I cannot speak for everyone, but we have had a beautiful summer season this year. We could probably use a little more rain if I wanted to find something to complain about. However, we have had wonderful cool mornings, followed by warm afternoons and then we get the heat in the early evenings. Great weather to hike and ride bikes in the morning, get errands and constructive things crossed off the list in the afternoon, and then stay in the shade or relax on the patio in the early evenings.
We are constantly warned of the dangers of sun and exposure to the sun’s radiation, especially during the summer months. Protection from UV rays is important all year, not just during the summer. UV rays can reach us on cloudy and cool days, and they reflect off surfaces like water, cement, sand, and snow. In the continental United States, UV rays tend to be strongest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
While we are outside enjoying our nice weather, what do we need to be aware of? Here is a short list of safety tips for enjoying the summer sun:
- Shade – if we are going to be outside in the sun for extended periods, always find shade to spend time in. We can substantially reduce our risk of sun damage and skin cancer by staying in the shade under an umbrella, tree, or other shelter. When going to the beach, ballgames, or other planned activities, bring a pop-up tent or canopy to provide shade if no trees are available. We keep these items in the trunk of the car all summer long.
- Wear sunscreen - Put on broad spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays and has an SPF of 15 or higher before going outside. Don’t forget to put a thick layer on areas like our nose and ears. Get help for hard-to-reach places like our back. Sunscreen is not recommended for babies who are 6 months old or younger. We recommend keeping infants out of the sun completely and using protective clothing if they must be in the sun. Sunscreen wears off. Put it on again if staying out in the sun for more than 2 hours and after swimming, sweating, or toweling off.
- Carefully select clothing and hats – Enjoying the summer sun can be greatly improved by making good clothing choices. Wear clothing that is light and will not hold heat. Looser shirts and shorts or pants are more comfortable when out in the heat. Pick a hat that offers the most coverage of our head and neck area. Be aware of wearing just a cap that has no coverage for our ears and the back of our neck. These areas are easy to sunburn when we are out enjoying the day.
- Wear good sunglasses – this is an area where I highly recommend spending some money. Sunglasses protect our eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts. They also protect the tender skin around our eyes from sun exposure. Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays offer the best protection. Wrap-around sunglasses work best because they block UV rays from sneaking in from the side.
There is no reason to completely stay out of the sun and not enjoy the summer. Taking reasonable precautions can make a big difference in reducing any dangerous radiation from the sun. Always enjoy the sun in moderation. Following the above tips can lead to more enjoyable summer activities and help to avoid sunburns. Be Blessed.
Category: Dr. Sterling