Take care in the sun

Summer means warm weather and sunshine. As enjoyable as that may be, sunshine means increased risk of skin damage due to overexposure, as well as other safety issues.

Protect yourself from heat and harmful rays this summer with this common-sense advice:

  • Check your medications. Antibiotics and other medications can increase your sensitivity to sunlight. Talk to your doctor about how best to take care of yourself.
  • Dress appropriately. Wear loose, light clothing covering your body as much as possible, along with a broad-brimmed hat to protect your face and neck.
  • Wear shades. Sunglasses help protect your eyes from the sun’s damaging rays, too.
  • Use sunscreen liberally. Apply sunscreen before going outside to allow time for it to protect your skin. Sunscreen should be a minimum of 15 SPF. People with fair skin should use a higher SPF number. Your best line of defense is a broad-spectrum sunscreen that that blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Check the label to make sure it is broad-spectrum. Reapply every two hours, or more often if you go swimming or sweat a lot. Those at higher risk of skin cancer should wear a high SPF number every day they go outdoors year-round.
  • Drink lots of water. Avoid overheating by staying hydrated during hot weather. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to start drinking water.
  • Seek shade. Tans aren’t healthy; they’re your body’s reaction against sun damage. You won’t think it’s so cool when wrinkles show up prematurely.
  • Avoid mid-day sun. When possible, limit your exposure to the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest.
  • Never leave them in the car. Even if you’re just making a quick stop, never leave children, the elderly or pets alone in a car. Even with the windows cracked, vehicles quickly reach dangerous temperatures.
  • Eat light. The Centers for Disease Control recommend healthy foods that require no or minimal cooking. Using the oven will require your AC to work harder, too. Visit your local Farmer’s Market and feast on fresh produce. Some foods can hydrate you while nourishing you, such as cooked asparagus, raw bell peppers, broccoli, raw cabbage, cantaloupe, cauliflower, raw celery, cucumbers, grapefruit, lettuce, strawberries, tomatoes and watermelon.
  • Cover windows. Keep blinds closed in the daytime, especially when direct sunlight is hitting the windows.
  • Take cool showers. Also, lay a cool, damp cloth on your forehead or the back of your neck, and replace as necessary.