Healthy Communities – Safe In The Sun

After a long and seemingly endless winter in the Mid Atlantic States, we are welcoming Summer with open arms.  Everyone will be enjoying the outdoor amenities in their community.  Exercising outside, playing tennis, pickleball or bocce ball, swimming and other exertions can take a toll on your health if the weather is hot and you don’t take the proper precautions.  The following are a few tips to stay safe in the sun.

  • Wear sunglasses and a wide brimmed hat.  Sunglasses protect your eyes from the damaging UVA rays.  Pick sunglasses that have a 100%  UVA/UVB protection.  Cataracts can be caused by sun damage. The elastics cords in the eye can also dry out,  become lumpy and painful.  UVA rays also contribute to the wrinkles around the eyes. Wide brimmed hats add to the eye protection from sunglasses and help to protect the shaded skin from the damaging UVA rays of the sun. 
  • Wear sunscreen.  Everyone needs to wear sunscreen. Your natural skin shade does not eliminate the need for sunscreen.
    • The best sunscreens have helioplex in them.  Helioplex protects from both the UVA and UVB rays.
    • UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin and cause wrinkles as well as an elevated risk of skin cancer.  90% of aging skin effects are caused by a lifetime accumulation of UVA ray exposure.  Sunscreen UVA protection comes from ingredients like Ecamsule, Avobenzone, Titanium Dioxide or Zinc Oxide. 
    • UVB rays cause sunburn and increased risks for skin cancer.
    • Pick a sunscreen with at least SPF15. This increases your time in the sun by 15 times before you burn.  If you would normally burn at 10 minutes with SPF15 you won’t burn for 150 minutes. SPF30 should be used for people with very fair skin or skin cancer in their family.
    • Children and people with allergies and sensitive skin should use a sunscreen with at least a SPF30 and ingredients like  Titanium Dioxide or Zinc Oxide.  Sunscreen with these ingredients uses less chemicals, preservatives and usually has no alcohol or fragrances to irritate the skin.
  • Stay Hydrated.  The human body needs water to survive.  Drink at least 8 8-ounce glasses of water daily. Keep a bottle of water with you throughout the day.
    • The human body is 65% water –  lungs are 90% water – the brain is 95% water. 
    • Water helps maintain body temperature, remove waste and lubricate joints.
    • Signs of dehydration include headache, confusion, dizziness, lightheadedness, dry mouth and extreme thirst.  Risk factors for dehydration include kidney or bladder issues, pregnancy or breastfeeding, fever, exercising outside in extreme heat or even trying to lose weight.
    • Drink water before, during and after your workout. Sports drinks can help keep hydration up if vigorously exercising for over 1 hour. They provide carbohydrates and electrolytes to increase energy and help the body absorb water.   
    • Drink water when you are hungry.  Thirst is often mistaken for hunger.  True hunger will not go away after drinking water.



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