As mercury continues to rise in backyard thermometers, the summer sun invites us to go outside for a run in the park, sit by the ocean on the beach, or bring our kids to visit a local playground or pool. While the sun’s rays allow us to absorb much needed Vitamin D, it’s important to do so with moderation and precaution on the hottest days of August.
While everyone is susceptible to potential sun and heat damage, the Mayo Clinic reports that those who are most at risk for heat-related conditions include older adults; young infants and children; those who have pre-existing heart, respiratory, or lung problems; work outdoors; or take certain medications that cause sensitivity to the sun.
South County Physical Therapy, Inc. (SCPT) has some important protective measures to keep in mind as you soak up the sun’s rays.
Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking water to stay hydrated is one of the best ways to avoid heat-related illnesses. Avoid drinking alcoholic, hot, or sugary drinks on simmering summer days. These can make dehydration even worse. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends consuming two to four cups of water per hour when engaging in outdoor activities and exercise. Learn to recognize the symptoms of heat-related illnesses with this helpful guide, provided by the CDC.
Read Your Sunscreen Labels
On hot summer days, you should apply sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher for maximum benefit. Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes prior to going outside, and be sure to reapply as needed after swimming, sports, or sweating.
The Skin Cancer Foundation shares that there are two kinds of ultraviolet radiation, UVA and UVB, which heighten your risk of skin cancer, premature aging, and skin damage. When choosing a sunscreen, be sure to check your labels for two important key words: broad spectrum. Broad spectrum sunscreen protects you from both UVA and UVB rays.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, all individuals over six months of age should wear sunscreen daily, and at least one ounce of lotion should be applied. Setting a timer on your mobile device can be a helpful reminder to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, for continuous sun protection.
Remember, observing sun safety is important to help you and your loved ones avoid heat-related conditions. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms referenced in the CDC’s Warning Signs and Symptoms of Heat-Related Illness guide, SCPT urges you to seek medical attention right away.
The SCPT team wishes you a fun – and safe – summer!