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Summer Sun

Protection from the sun

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As the weather gets warmer, we all think about being outdoors and enjoying the sun. Beach trips, picnics, days in the park and bike riding are great ways to have fun. But the sun is dangerous, unless you take appropriate precautions. Sunburn and dehydration are risks. Here are some summer tips to keep you safe outdoors!

Sunburn

  • Avoid sunburn by following these tips:
  • Wear sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 all year round. Use cosmetics and lip protectors with SPF 15, too. Even on cloudy days you can still get sunburn. Your chance of getting sunburn is a bit greater when you are in the mountains.
  • Reapply sunscreen whenever you sweat, towel off or come out of the water.
  • Purchase a “cool” hat with a wide brim or a flap in the back to wear when you are out in the direct sun.
  • Try to stay out of direct sun between 10 am and 4 pm.
  • Wear loose lightweight clothing but have long sleeves and long pants to prevent sun burn.
  • Know your medications. Some can increase your risk for serious sunburn. Talk to your healthcare provider.
  • Help keep young children and babies safe by being sure they are protected from sun exposure. Bad sunburn early in life might mean skin cancer as an adult. Check this out! The Weather Channel has a web site, www.weather.com. If you want a personal sun safety recommendation, just type in your zip code or city and fill in a few facts. You will get a report about protecting yourself from the sun. You can pick the Health menu and learn about air quality and allergies in your area.

Dehydration

Dehydration happens when you lose fluids either when you are sick and vomiting or have diarrhea, or when you are in the sun too much without getting enough to drink. It can happen fast especially to little kids and to elderly people. It can happen to anyone when we get busy in the sun and forget to drink enough liquids. It can happen more easily in areas where there is low humidity like the desert or in the mountains where our sweat evaporates more quickly.

Here are some tips to keep from becoming dehydrated:

  • When it is hot, remember to drink a lot but avoid things that contain caffeine (tea, coffee, and colas) and alcohol. Water, milk, juice and Gatorade are good choices.
  • If you are thirsty, your baby is most likely thirsty too. Remember to offer your baby water or juice often on hot days.
  • Remind other friends to drink often, too, especially when you are out in the sun together.
  • Take breaks from activities in the sun and sit in the shade for awhile.
  • Wear that “cool” hat!

Know the signs of dehydration. They are: getting dizzy or weak, having a dry mouth or cracked lips, having really dark urine and not urinating very often, and getting sleepier than usual. Babies may cry without tears if they are becoming dehydrated.

If you see the signs of dehydration in yourself or someone you are with, get help from a healthcare provider right away.

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Last updated on Tue, 06/15/2010 - 16:57