Who doesn’t love a sunny, summer day? Whether you enjoy sun bathing on the beach, taking a swim at the local pool or walking around at the neighborhood park, it’s important to keep sun safety tips in mind to protect your skin from wrinkles, age spots and, more importantly, skin cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes and too much exposure causes most skin cancers. Keep yourself, your friends and families safe by following these five sun safety tips.
- Plan ahead: Don’t get caught outside in the sun for an extended period of time without your essentials—sunscreen, sunglasses, a bottle of water and protective clothing. Pack a tote bag filled with these items and keep it ready so you can easily grab and go out the door to your next summer adventure.
- Use sunscreen – the right way: We all know to use sunscreen, but do we really use it the way we should? Sunscreen works by absorbing, reflecting and scattering the sunlight. Be sure to use sunscreen all over your body – this includes some places you might not think of such as the part in your hair, back of your neck, tops of your feet and ears. Reapplication is also very important. Sunscreen wears off pretty quick, which is why you need to reapply if you’re in the sun for more than two hours, after swimming or after sweating. Additionally, be sure to use sunscreen that has a sun protective factor (SPF) of at least 15 to help block UV rays.
- Wear sunglasses and a hat: Sunglasses are more than just a fashion statement. They also protect your eyes from UV rays and can help reduce your risk of developing cataracts. Sunglasses also protect the skin around your eyes from the sun. For the most protection, wear a hat. A hat with a bigger brim all the way around will provide the best shade for your face, ears and even back of your neck. The extra shade will act as an additional layer of protection from the sun. Plus, who wouldn’t want to wear a stylish, floppy hat on the beach?
- Stay hydrated: When you’re outside on a hot summer day, you are more than likely sweating, causing your body to lose water. Unfortunately, sweating can’t be avoided, which is why it’s important to stay hydrated throughout your time outside. Carry a water bottle with you to drink while in the sun. There are many bottles that even keep your water ice-cold, making your water more enjoyable and thirst quenching in the heat.
Spread the word: Help your family and friends learn why it’s important to stay safe in the summer sun. According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States and is frequently caused by too much exposure to UV rays. Protect yourself and others by following and promoting sun safety tips.
Summer is a great time to get outside and do fun things with your family and friends. Just be sure to follow sun safety tips to keep yourself and the people in your life safe from the sun’s harmful rays. If discussing public health topics and health promotion interests you, check out Chamberlain University’s Master of Public Health degree program.
By Sunita Rao-Fogt
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