Nearly 10,000 Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer everyday. Fortunately, there are simple steps a person can take to protect him or herself from permanent sun damage.
Two of the biggest consequences from spending too much time outside unprepared are sunburn and heatstroke. These conditions are not hereditary. Anyone who doesn’t take proper precaution before soaking up the rays can fall victim.
Looking to beat the heat this summer? Read on for summer heat safety tips and how to better protect yourself against the sun.
Before you go outside (or approach Happy Hour for that matter), always be hydrated. We think of hydrating in preparation for exercise or other activities. Even just sitting out still in the sun, however, takes away energy from the body. It’s why drinking enough fluids combats the cold and flu.
Drinking sugary energy drinks, juices, or soda doesn’t count. Water is the best remedy for staying hydrated. Signs of dehydration include fatigue, drowsiness, dark urine, or simply being thirsty.
Always have water handy anytime you’ll be in the sun long periods of time. The recommended daily amount of water consumption is 2.7 liters for females and 3.7 liters for males.
Apply, Apply, Apply
Whether you’re hiking, going to the beach, sitting at a baseball game, or doing yard work, sunscreen is your best friend.
Everyone knows what sunscreen is, but they all don’t know the proper way to apply it. Sunscreen isn’t just limited to certain areas, it can be applied to any skin. Some users target the face while leaving other areas exposed resulting in serious sunburn.
Be mindful of the sun protection factor (SPF) your sunscreen offers. It should list this directly on the container. An SPF of at least 15 is recommended for all sunscreen usage, and higher SPF can help protect against sunburn. Everyone’s skin reacts differently, however, and using a small amount with a high SPF is no substitute for protecting yourself.
Remember to reapply sunscreen if you’re steadily remaining out in the sun. Set an alarm on your phone if needed.
How To Treat Sunburn
Nevertheless, all of us will experience a sunburn eventually. Sometimes even when we’re liberal with the sunscreen or stay close to the shade the sun manages to leave its mark on us.
The best place to start for treating a sunburn is drinking enough water. You can also use aloe vera, a moisturizer extracted from the aloe plant, to rub on the burnt area the same way you’d apply sunscreen.
No matter how painful or itchy, do not pick at sunburnt skin. This poses a risk for infection and can slow down the healing process as your skin recovers.
Recognizing Signs of Heatstroke
While you can usually recover from a sunburn, a heatstroke can cause serious complications if not treated promptly. This starts with recognizing its signs whether yourself or someone around you is experiencing a heatstroke.
High body temperature, excessive sweating, vomiting, and distorted thinking are signs of heatstroke. Anyone experiencing this should contact emergency personnel and receive water and shade as soon as possible.
It should be noted a heatstroke is not the same as a regular stroke in which blood is unable to reach the brain. The consequences of a heatstroke, however, can produce similar effects including death.
Following Summer Heat Safety Tips
Staying safe in the sun is no accident. While drinking enough water and wearing sunscreen are simple enough steps to follow, there are plenty of other initiatives one can take to enhance protection.
Wearing a hat, sunglasses, and long enough clothing are small extra summer heat safety tips that go a long way. It’s also best to avoid hazards such as tanning beds as these can cause significant skin damage even if you’re not in the sun.
If you or someone you know is dealing with significant skin damage, determine if you should go to Urgent Care or the Emergency Room to treat the condition.