While you should always be aware of protecting your skin in the sun, it is especially important in the summertime when the sun is at its hottest. Aside from sunburns, heatstroke and dehydration are additional hazards to watch out for. But with a few safety steps and by planning ahead you can avoid
feeling miserable the next day.
The best way to prevent sunburns, heatstroke and dehydration is to stay out of the sun. But that isn’t practical or very fun. And how will you get your Vitamin D if you don’t spend a little time soaking up some rays.
For your kids, buy sunscreen that is specifically made for children and be sure to apply it at least 30 minutes prior to going outside. This gives the sunscreen time to be absorbed and get to work. Once outside, reapply every two hours or more frequently if there is swimming or a sprinkler involved. Also, the more fair the skin, the more likely to get sunburned faster. That doesn’t mean darker skinned people can’t burn, and that was a myth for many years. Anyone can get burned, so monitor your application of sunscreen regularly. There are even apps for smartphones that will remind you when it’s time.
Once outside, a hat is still important. Ideally the hat will cover the face, ears and the back of the neck – all very sensitive body parts that are prone to getting burnt. Often, people forget their ears when applying sunscreen or choosing a hat. You only need to get burned there once to remember it the next time.
Wearing a hat will also protect you and the kids against heatstroke. Have water available for each child when playing outside. The combination of them running around and the hot sun can quickly dehydrate little bodies. If it’s humid, you often forget to drink since you don’t feel the dehydration as much.
The bottom line is staying out of the sun from 11:00 a.m. until after 2:00 p.m is the best prevention. This is
the hottest time of the day and when the sun is at its peak. By avoiding the outdoors at then you can prevent sun related illnesses. If this isn’t possible seek out some shade for everyone to take a break in.
- Cover up: When you are out in the sun, wear clothing and a wide-brimmed hat to protect as much skin as possible. Protect your eyes with sunglasses that block at least 99% of UV light.
- Use a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF of at least 30: Be sure to reapply at least every 2 hours, as well as after swimming or sweating.
- Seek shade: Limit your direct exposure to the sun, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when UV rays are strongest.
- Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps: Both can cause serious long-term skin damage and contribute to skin cancer.
- Wear long sleeves
Here is one last tip to help keep your family happy and healthy:
Cover all the bases – It’s easy to overlook spots like your ears, neck, shoulders and the back of your neck, but they need sunscreen, too. So does your scalp, if you or your child has thin or short hair (or you’re rocking that Bruce Willis chrome-dome look)
And have fun this weekend!