3 Tips for Staying Safe in the Sun
We live in a world where it seems that nothing we do is safe or healthy enough, and danger lurks around every corner. July is UV Safety Month, and as you plunge into the depths of summer and face the many perils of beach volleyball, remember that you aren’t alone on your journey to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. And luckily, when it comes to UV safety, there’s a lot you can do to stay protected. Here are three tips to help you feel like you aren’t at the mercy of the dangerous world around you.
Eat Your Vitamin D
Vitamin D is an element essential for bone and muscle development, as well as immune system health. Your body produces Vitamin D when your skin absorbs UVB light from the sun, but don’t be mistaken: this is not an excuse to bake in the sun for “health reasons”. A fair-skinned person may only need 5-10 minutes in the sun in order to produce adequate amounts of Vitamin D, while it is much harder for those with darker skin and the elderly to produce Vitamin D. So skip laying out on the front lawn, as according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the best way to get your daily dose is through a well-balanced diet, including Vitamin-D-rich foods such as salmon, egg yolks, and fortified milks and cereals.
Everyone loves a good tan, but who wants to end a day at the beach worthy of a soft drink commercial with a painful sunburn? Accordingly, the next time you plan on being in the sun, cover as much exposed skin as possible and don’t forget hats and sunglasses (UV rays can increase the risks of cataracts and cancer). For any exposed skin on adults and children six months and up, always remember to apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and make sure to reapply every 2 hours. Babies under six months have more sensitive skin which contains less melanin, and as a result, are more likely to develop sunburns and suffer severe medical conditions caused by direct sun exposure. The FDA does not recommend sunscreen for babies under six months, so the best way to protect infants is using protective clothing and keeping them out of direct sunlight for extended periods of time, especially during the hours of 10am and 4pm.
Beware of Water Sports
Nothing beats a day of laying out by the pool, but because water reflects light, sunburns can often be worse when in the pool. To avoid the pain, make sure to coat your entire body with sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher at least 20-30 minutes before entering the water, and reapply often. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends one ounce of sunscreen for protecting your entire body. Also, to help your sun protection go further, consider investing in water-proof sunscreen for outdoor water activities, and if you can, plan your water sports before or after midday, to avoid the worst of the sun’s rays.
Even the most responsible among us are still susceptible to sunburn. If your sunburn is severe, resulting in blistering, or is accompanied by fever, pain, or nausea, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention. Occasionally, severe sunburns can result in skin infections, so if you suspect your burn is more than a little aloe vera can handle, do your skin a solid and book a doctor house call using Heal. The doctors who work with Heal can help assess the state of your sunburn and prescribe a personalized treatment plan that works for you. In a world where even the sun is out to get you, aren’t you glad there’s Heal?