Practicing sun safety requires more than just wearing sun screen on sunny days. While we support getting outdoors and enjoying the sunshine and fresh air, sun exposure does pose risks to our short-term and long-term health. Learn about what risks are associated with soaking up the sun, and also what healthy habits you and your family can implement to stay safe!
Risks Associated With Sun & Heat Exposure
1. Short-Term Skin Damage
It takes less than 15 minutes to receive a sunburn, even though it may not appear for 2-6 hours. This occurs from over-exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays.
2. Long-Term Skin Damage
Extended over-exposure to UV rays over the course of a lifetime accelerates the aging process of the skin. The skin may wrinkle, appear dry, and change in pigment color. On a deeper level, extended sun exposure can change the skin cells which may lead to skin cancer.
This occurs when the body’s fluid levels become unbalanced—more water is moving out of our body’s cells than the amount of water we are taking in through drinking. Signs of dehydration include: dark yellow urine, increased thirst, inability to sweat, dizziness or weakness, dry mouth, swollen tongue, heart palpitations, fainting, and confusion.
Under-the-Sun Safety Tips
- Check your skin all over to understand what your ‘normal’ baseline is.
- Re-check skin and spots regularly to notice any changes.
- Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least 30 SPF.
- Apply sunscreen every 80 minutes.
- Check the ingredients and use a sunscreen that has Zinc Oxide.
- If you exercise outdoors, schedule your activity for early in the morning or later in the day.
- Drink at least 64 ounces of water each day – and even more on the hot days!
- Stay protected by wearing sun-shirts, wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, and using umbrellas.
- Talk to your children about the importance of applying sunscreen and staying hydrated!
- When in the heat, cut out sugary beverages and stick to water and beverages with electrolytes.