It’s June in Texas, which means sun – and lots of it! Texans know that the summer heat and sun are no joke. Overexposure to heat and sun can cause a host of health issues, ranging from dehydration and heatstroke, to sunburns and skin cancer. We’ll cover symptoms of dehydration later in the month. For now, let’s cover some tips to keep you and your family safe in the sun.
Minimize exposure: the first tip is the most obvious – when the sun is at its most intense, avoid exposure. Especially during the hottest times, from 10:00a – 4:00p, it is important to avoid direct exposure. If you do plan to be in the sun during those times, make sure to follow the additional tips, below.
Utilize or bring shade: one way to help minimize exposure to direct sunlight is to utilize shade, or bring a sunshade, like an umbrella or a pop-up tent. This will both help to keep everyone cooler and also prevent heavy sun exposure.
Wear protective clothing: If shade is not available, opt for lightweight, protective clothing. Long-sleeve shirts in a light fabric, like linen or very light cotton, along with pants, are good options to protect your skin. Make sure that the fabric is breathable to help prevent overheating. Don’t forget a hat and sunglasses to protect your face, neck, and eyes.
Wear sunscreen: Make sure that you put sunscreen of at least 30 SPF on everyone (yourself included!) any time you are out in the sun – even on cool or cloudy days and ESPECIALLY when you are in a different climate. Cover all exposed skin, and apply the sunscreen correctly (read the instructions). Reapply as instructed on the label.
Take precautions around reflective surfaces and in places away from home: Did you know that snow, water, and light-colored sand all reflect the sun’s rays? They do, and those reflected rays can still burn you. UV rays are also strongest at higher altitudes and near the equator. Make sure to take extra precautions when you are traveling or in a new environment.
Avoid tanning: There is no such thing as a ‘safe’ tan. Tanned skin results from UV damage, so indoor tanning is no safer than laying in the sun. And a “base tan” will not protect you from sunburns or skin cancer.
Make sure to set a good example for the children around you and protect yourself, too!
Have fun this summer, and stay safe in the sun.