It’s that time of year again. The sun is shining, humidity is high, boats are on the water and the grills are fired up for summertime fun gatherings. With all the summertime activities also comes the risk of sun exposure and heat exhaustion. Listed below are some helpful tips to help prevent painful and sometimes, harmful sunburns.
To protect infants 6 months and younger from sunburn, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends to dress the infant in lightweight long pants, long-sleeved shirts and a hat to protect their necks. Parents can apply a minimal amount of sunscreen with at least 15 SPF to small areas such as the face and the back of the hands. If the infant would get sunburned, a cool compress can be applied to the sunburn area.
For all children and adults, the best defense against the sun’s ultraviolet radiation is to eliminate skin exposure and stay in the shade as much as possible. Try to limit as much sun exposure during the peak intensity hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Not only do we want to protect our skin from the sun, but also our eyes. Try to purchase sunglasses that provide a 97%-100% protection against both UVA and UVB rays.
For some of us, it may be nearly impossible to avoid sun exposure, it is a natural instinct to want to be outside when the days are longer and the temperature is higher. If that is the case, protect yourself as much as possible with sunscreen with an SPF 15 or greater. The American Cancer Society recommends to use sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Adults should apply about one ounce of sunscreen per sitting, reapply every couple of hours if you are sweating or swimming. Take extra precaution to protect yourself when you are on the lake or at the beach, the sun will reflect off the sand and water.
Sunscreen should be used any time of the year that you would be exposed to the sun’s UV rays; however, it is extremely important in the summertime. Choose a sunscreen with broad spectrum protection; this sunscreen protects against both UVB and UVA rays. All sunscreens are formulated to protect against UVB rays which is the main cause for sunburn; however, the UVA rays contribute to skin cancer and premature aging. The SPF number is the level of protection that the sunscreen protects against UVB rays. The higher the SPF number does mean better protection, but the higher you go, the smaller the difference becomes. Example, SPF 15 filters about 93% of UVB rays, SPF 30 filters about 97%, while SPF 100 filters about 99% of the UVB rays.
Water resistant sunscreen does not mean that the sunscreen is waterproof. No sunscreens are waterproof or sweat proof; manufacturers are no longer allowed to claim they are. The label now has to say the sunscreen is water resistant up to a certain amount of time, usually either 40 minutes or 80 minutes while swimming or sweating.
Always protect yourself and your family against the sun’s harmful UV rays. Remember to reapply sunscreen every couple of hours and limit your exposure to the sun. Enjoy your summer, stay safe while doing so.