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Sun Safety

Monday, June 13, 2016

Along with summer and fun comes increased sun exposure. UV rays can be incredibly harmful to the skin and taking proper precautions to protect it should be taken every time you plan on being outside for an extended period of time. Sun protection can be broken down into three basic categories.

Clothing: There are many pieces of clothing available today on the market that offer coolness while still covering the body and blocking UV rays. Be aware that you may pay a bit more for clothing made to specifically block rays but it is a worthwhile investment. Change out your sun protection based clothing as often as the manufacturer recommends. Investing a few more dollars into a good pair of sunglasses can also go a long way. Be aware that you cannot determine a pair’s UV effectiveness by just looking. The lenses’ color has no effect on how much UV light is blocked. Do research and read labels to ensure that you are choosing a pair that blocks 99%-100% of UV rays. If a pair is not labeled or doesn’t state that it blocks any rays, move on to a pair that does. Hats are also a great way to offer some protection to your body.

Shelter: If you are able, plan outdoor activities in an area that has enough shade for everyone to take advantage of throughout the day. Try having cookouts in an area with a pavilion or with plenty of trees. If you plan to be on the beach, get a beach umbrella and make sure everyone can use it even if just on a rotating schedule. Getting out of the sun can help with skin protection and offer a cooler temperature to relax in. The sun’s rays tend to be the strongest between 10am and 4pm so be especially cautious during these times.

Sunscreen: Sunscreen is perhaps the best way to protect your skin when there is no other option but to be in the direct sun. Choosing the best sunscreen for your family should definitely have some thought put into it. Will you be in the water? Water can easily wash off normal sunscreens so be prepared with a waterproof version and be sure to reapply as often as the directions state. Will you be around insects? If you know that you will need to use anti-bug sprays, be prepared to step up your SPF protection. Insect repellents reduce sunscreen’s SPF by a whopping 33%. Try your best to ensure you have the correct sunscreen available for your planned day.

If you or your family unfortunately receives sunburn, be very concerned over its healing. If it is extreme enough that it comes along with blistering and/or bleeding, seek out medical attention immediately. Sun burn should be treated with the same care and concern of any other burns. Aloe Vera is great to help soothe the skin and offers healing properties. A cool, damp towel can also offer relief. Also drink plenty of extra water to help rehydrate your body and skin. If a basic sunburn doesn’t seem to be healing at all after a few days, then it is time to seek out medical attention.

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