8 Sun Safety Tips to Promote Fun in the Sun
- Jul 03, 2018
Why is Sun Safety Important?
We love the sun. We actually all need sun exposure to create vitamin D and absorb calcium.
It doesn’t take much for fun in the sun to turn into red, painful, stinging, sunburn. A day on the beach, at the park, or at the game can turn sour if you’re not protecting yourself from the sun’s rays. Sunburn also has long-term effects. It can cause skin aging, wrinkling, and cataracts.
Too much unprotected exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause skin damage, eye damage, immune system suppression, and even skin cancer. It doesn’t take long for these issues to present themselves, either. Even young people in their twenties can develop skin cancer.
Why Do We Get Sunburn?
Sunburns and other long-term problems occur when the sun radiates light and UV rays to the earth. When UV rays reach out skin, they cause tanning, burning, and other skin damage. Yes, your nice summer tan is actually a form of skin damage.
There are two different UV rays. UVA rays cause skin aging and wrinkling. These rays also contribute to skin cancer, including the most dangerous form of skin cancer: Melanoma. UVA rays pass easily through the ozone layer and therefore make up most our sun exposure.
There are also UVB rays. UVB rays are also dangerous. They can cause sunburn, cataracts, and immune system problems. UVB rays also contribute to skin cancer. Some scientists believe severe UVB sunburns before age 20 increase your risk for developing Melanoma.
You may wonder how these rays damage our skin. Well, they interact with a chemical found in our skin, called melanin. A sunburn develops when the amount of UV exposure is greater than what can be protected against by the skin’s melanin.
So how do you protect yourself, your loved ones, and your coworkers? Here’s our list of sun safety tips.
8 Tips to Have Fun in the Sun
1. Use Sunscreen
Our first sun safety tip is a no-brainer: Use sunscreen! The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends that all kids wear a sunscreen with SPF of 30 or higher. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that all adults wear a sunscreen with SPF of 15 or higher.
When applying sunscreen, put on a thick layer on all parts of exposed skin before you go outside. It’s also important to put sunscreen on even if it’s cloudy or cool outside, as the sun can burn through clouds. Make sure you pay attention to all the instructions on your sunscreen bottle. You need to reapply sunscreen throughout the day, depending on the sunscreen, water exposure, and how much you sweat. Also make sure you aren’t using expired sunscreen or else it won’t work!
2. Wear the Right Clothes
Our next tip is to wear the right clothes. When you can, cover up with long-sleeved shirts and pants. Choose clothing made from dark, tightly woven fabric for the best protection. Some other good clothing tips include wearing dry clothing because wet clothing offers much less protection. It’s also a good idea to throw a wide-brimmed hat on. This will help protect your head, face, and neck.
3. Avoid Certain Times
The sun’s strength varies throughout the day. The hours with the strongest sunlight are typically between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. standard time of 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. daylight savings time. Try to plan outdoor activities for the early morning or early evening hours, and skip strenuous activities during these peak UV intensity hours.
If you must be in the sun between these hours, seek shade. If you’re working, set up a tent to shade yourself from the sun. It’s also a good idea to seek shelter underneath trees and awnings. However, we’d like to remind you should vacate these areas if a thunderstorm approaches.
4. Wear Sunglasses
Did you know even one day in the sun can lead to a burned cornea?
Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts. Sunglasses also offer protecting to the skin surrounding your eyes. We recommend sunglasses that protect against both UV rays. Luckily, most sunglasses sold in the U.S. offer this protection.
5. Check Medicines
Some medicines, like antibiotics, can make skin more sensitive to UV rays. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if any prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medicines you take can increase sun sensitivity. If so, take extra sun precautions. Unfortunately, in these situations it’s difficult to protect skin. Another type of medicine that makes skin sensitive is acne medicine. If you have any questions, always call your doctor.
6. Learn How to Read the UV Index
The National Weather Service and Environmental Protective Agency issue the UV Index daily to help people plan for their days in the sun. It provides important information to help you prevent sun overexposure and increase overall sun safety.
The lowest UV range is <2. This is low exposure. The next is moderate exposure, which is a UV range of 3 to 5. In the middle is high exposure, with a range of 6 to 7. When the UV range reaches 8 to 10 we consider this very high UV exposure. We call the highest exposure extreme, which is anything 11 or above. Like any weather forecast, check the UV forecast before you leave the house so you can better plan your outdoor activities with sun safety in mind.
Our free Daily Weather Outlooks will get you in the know. Sign up for these daily weather emails today to help protect you, your family, and your business from the sun and other summer hazards.
7. Use Extra Caution
Water, sand, and even snow reflect the damaging rays of the sun. If you’re near these areas, which many of us are during the summer months, use extra caution with sun safety. This reflection increases your chance of sunburn. It’s a little unbelievable, but it is possible to get a sunburn in the winter. We have plenty of skiers and riders here at Earth Networks that can reminisce about spring ski days turned into aloe-filled nights. Make sure you use a higher SPF sunscreen and apply more often when at the beach, on the lake, or on the mountain.
8. Keep an Eye on Kids
Think back to your summers as a child: You probably didn’t have a care in the world. All you wanted to do was play on the beach, jump in the pool, or win the MVP trophy in your baseball game. You weren’t thinking about the risk of sunburn. It’s important that adults keep an eye on kids for sun safety. Recent medical research shows that it’s important to protect children and young adults from overexposure to UV radiation. Remind children to reapply at least every two hours. You should also ensure they keep hats, sunglasses, and protective clothing on if they can.
For babies under 6 months, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends avoiding sun exposure and dressing infants in lightweight long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and brimmed hats. There are special sunscreens made especially for babies, infants, and toddlers, so purchase some of those.
What Happens If I Get Burnt?
If you do get a sunburn, there are a few things you can do to ease the pain and protect your skin. Firstly, you can take a quick dip to cool your skin. If you are near a cold pool, lake, or ocean, jump in for a few seconds to cool down.
You can use a cold compress, but please do not apply ice directly to the sunburn. Try to avoid soap as it can make the discomfort worse.
You can also moisturize to help. Dampen the skin and use a gentle moisturizing lotion that does not contain petroleum or oil-based ointments. Keep repeating to avoid skin peeling. Aloe also provides a lot of relief as does wearing loose-fitting clothing.
You can also take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) to help control the discomfort and inflammation. Our last tip is to hydrate because burns draw fluid to the skin’s surface and away from the rest of the body.
You should see a doctor if your sunburn has any of the accompany conditions:
- Blistering over much of the body
- Fever or chills
- You feel woozy or confused
- Infected blisters, identifiable by red streaks or oozing pus
What Did We Miss?
How else do you protect yourself from the sun? We’d like to know your sun safety tips. If we missed anything you do to protect yourself from the sun, please let us know in the comments below. We hope everyone has a great summer, full of safe fun in the sun!