CareNow® - July 17, 2023

While soaking up some rays can be a great way to get the vitamin D your body needs, it's also important to prioritize sun safety to safeguard your skin and overall health. Sun exposure can have long-term consequences, including sunburns, premature aging, and an increased risk of skin cancer.

We're exploring effective strategies to stay safe in the sun, identifying activities that promote sun safety, and delving into the importance of sun protection. By following these guidelines, you can spend plenty of time in the sun this summer while minimizing the harmful effects of UV radiation.

How to stay safe in the sun

Staying safe in the sun includes adopting various preventive measures and incorporating them into your daily routine. Here are some key strategies to protect yourself from harmful UV rays:

  1. Seek shade: When the sun’s rays are most intense, typically between 10:00am and 4:00pm, seek shade to minimize direct exposure. If shade isn't available, create your shade using umbrellas, canopies, or wide-brimmed hats.
  2. Wear protective clothing: Cover exposed skin with lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that provides adequate coverage. Opt for long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and skirts. Choosing clothing with a tight weave or UPF rating can also offer additional sun protection.
  3. Use sunscreen: Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher on all exposed skin. Reapply every two hours, or more frequently if sweating or swimming. Don't forget to cover commonly overlooked areas like the ears, back of the neck, and tops of the feet.
  4. Wear sunglasses: Protect your eyes from UV radiation by wearing sunglasses that block 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays. Look for sunglasses that specifically mention providing UV protection.
  5. Stay hydrated: Proper hydration is crucial in hot weather. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, even if you don't feel thirsty. You should also avoid drinking too much caffeine as it can contribute to dehydration.

Don't let a bad sunburn or sun damage cause you pain. Visit your local CareNow® for efficient care that will get you back to your summer activities quickly.

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Which activities are best for sun safety?

Engaging in outdoor activities during the summer can be enjoyable, but it's important to choose activities that promote sun safety. Here are some examples of activities that allow you to have fun and stay active while minimizing sun exposure.

Early morning or late afternoon walks

Plan your walks or hikes during cooler times of the day when the sun's rays are less intense. Enjoy the beauty of nature while reducing the risk of sunburn and heat-related illnesses.

Water sports in shaded areas

If you enjoy water activities like swimming, kayaking, or paddle boarding, choose locations that offer natural shade, such as swimming under trees or using shaded areas at the beach. Don't forget to reapply sunscreen after any swimming or water activities.

Outdoor fitness classes

Join outdoor fitness classes that are conducted in shaded areas or under canopies. Look for classes held during non-peak sun hours to minimize sun exposure while you stay active.

Picnics under trees

Plan picnics in areas with ample tree cover like shaded parks. Many picnic benches are covered by shaded canopies to keep you from too much sun exposure.

Cultural and indoor activities

Consider exploring museums, art galleries, or cultural centers during the hottest parts of the day. This allows you to enjoy fun activities during the summer months while staying indoors and away from the sun.

Why is sun safety important?

Prioritizing sun safety is crucial for maintaining your overall health and protecting your skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation. Prolonged and unprotected exposure to UV radiation is a leading cause of skin cancer.

By practicing sun safety, such as wearing sunscreen, protective clothing, and seeking shade, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing skin cancer.

Exposure to the sun's harmful rays can accelerate the aging process, leading to wrinkles, fine lines, age spots, and uneven skin tone. Sun safety measures can help minimize the damage caused by UV radiation, keeping your skin youthful and healthy-looking.

A sunburn is not only painful but also indicates skin damage caused by excessive UV exposure. By taking precautions and avoiding sunburn, you protect your skin from immediate discomfort and reduce the risk of long-term skin damage.

Heat-related illnesses due to sun exposure

Heat-related illnesses can occur when the body's natural cooling mechanisms are overwhelmed by excessive heat and humidity. There are three main types of heat-related illnesses: heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.

  1. Heat cramps: These are painful muscle cramps that typically occur during or after intense physical activity in hot conditions. Heat cramps are caused by an electrolyte imbalance, usually due to excessive sweating and inadequate fluid and salt replacement.
  2. Heat exhaustion: Heat exhaustion is a more severe form of heat-related illness. It can occur when the body is unable to cool itself adequately, leading to heavy sweating, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalances. Symptoms may include fatigue, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, fainting, and cool, clammy skin.
  3. Heat stroke: Heat stroke is the most severe and life-threatening heat-related illness. It occurs when the body's temperature regulation system fails, and the body temperature rises to a dangerous level. Heat stroke requires immediate medical attention. Symptoms may include a high body temperature (usually above 104°F or 40°C), altered mental state or behavior, confusion, seizures, rapid breathing, racing heart rate, flushed or red skin, and loss of consciousness.

Preventing heat-related illnesses involves taking precautions in hot environments, such as staying hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, wearing appropriate clothing, seeking shade or air-conditioned environments, and avoiding strenuous activities during the hottest parts of the day.

Protecting yourself from harmful UV radiation is an important part of staying safe this summer. By incorporating sun safety practices into your daily routine, you can enjoy the outdoors while minimizing the risks associated with sun exposure.

If you’re worried you’ve been overexposed to the sun or have a sunburn that’s more severe than normal, it’s a good idea to seek medical attention.

Your local CareNow® can treat you when it’s convenient for you — even after hours and on the weekend. Find the clinic nearest you on our website. Don't forget to take advantage of our Web Check-In® feature so you can wait from anywhere!

We’re thrilled to share that we’ve received the title of Accredited Urgent Care Center from the Urgent Care Association (UCA), highlighting the quality of care and dedication to our clients.