Summer is usually the hottest season of the year and when you’ll probably be hanging outdoors and in the sun a lot. Summer safety is really important for you and your family as too much time under the sun and in the heat can be dangerous for your health. Being aware of the sun’s dangers can make a big difference for your and your family’s health.
Here are a few tips to practice safety under the sun…
Being in the summer heat for long periods of time can be harmful to one’s health. As you spend more time under the sun, you’ll probably be sweating a lot. While it means your body is cooling off from the heat, too much sweating is not good if you’re not also drinking enough water.
In fact, the Mayo Clinic says that too much sweating is a main cause of dehydration and that “hot, humid weather increases the amount you sweat and the amount of fluid you lose.” Making sure you and your loved ones drink enough water, especially while out in the sun, is an important part of summer safety.
Drinking water provides your body with a number of benefits and plays an important role in regulating your body. According to Harvard Health Publishing, drinking water helps in “carrying nutrients and oxygen to your cells, flushing bacteria from your bladder, aiding digestion, preventing constipation, normalizing blood pressure, cushioning joints, protecting organs and tissues, regulating body temperature, and maintaining electrolyte (sodium) balance.”
Aim for drinking eight glasses of water a day!
Wearing Sunscreen & Sunglasses
Spending time outside in the summer heat can be fun, but being the sun too long can be dangerous.
Another important part of summer safety is wearing sunscreen.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the sun provides ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which is split up into three rays: UVA, UVB, and UVC. While UVC is not a threat, being aware of UVA and UVB rays and their effects on the body are important.
UV radiation can provide essential Vitamin D, and the CDC notes that 5-15 minutes in the sun 2-3 times a week can works wonders. However, too much time in the sun can lead to sunburn in the short-term and can lead to skin cancer and premature aging in the long-term. Take steps to prevent these issues by using the correct sunscreen for you!
The American Cancer Society (ACS) advises that people use “broad spectrum” sunscreen. Keep an eye out for the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) as well. The higher the SPF, the more protection against UV rays your sunscreen offers.
For example, the ACS notes that:
- SPF 15 sunscreens filter out about 93% of UVB rays,
- SPF 30 sunscreens filter out about 97%,
- SPF 50 sunscreens about 98%,
- and SPF 100 about 99%.”
While no sunscreen protects you completely, it is important to note that sunscreens with an SPF lower than 15 are not helpful in protecting against skin cancer and aging.
It is also important to protect your eyes from the sun – don’t forget to wear sunglasses!
Dealing with Heat Waves
Being aware of an impending heat wave is crucial. With soaring temperatures and uncomfortable conditions, not being prepared for a heat wave can actually be fatal. Potential dangers include heat exhaustion and, even worse, heat stroke. Pay attention to any extreme heat warnings and advisories and be sure to plan ahead!
The American Red Cross lists several ways that you can prepare for heat waves. A few examples include:
– Drink plenty of water and make sure to also leave enough fresh water out for your pets.
– Make sure your home is protected from the heat by doing things like covering windows with drapes or shades and installing an AC unit for cold air.
– Wear light-colored, thin clothing that allows for maximum breathability.
– Have a care package readily available for all members of the household. Fill it with non-perishable goods, water, snacks, first aid supplies, and medication.
Summer Safety and Staying Healthy
Summer safety ultimately comes down to being prepared, and having the resources you need to stay safe is crucial.
It is also important to not ignore your health during the summer months! If you are uninsured or under-insured and need access to affordable healthcare, visit our website to find a clinic near you.