Top Tips for Staying Safe in the Sun
Summer is here, and that means more time in the great outdoors for most of us. July is UV Safety Awareness Month, and while time spent outside is good for your general health and wellness, if you are going to be out for more than 15 minutes, you need to take steps to protect yourself from the sun's harmful UV rays.
Where once being sunkissed was an attractive quality, the depletion of the ozone layer has led to more powerful and damaging rays reaching the earth's surface. You must do what you can to avoid the damage done by these rays.
Unprotected time in the sun can cause sunburn, premature aging of your skin, and increase your chances of developing skin cancer.
How To Protect Yourself from The Sun
You don't have to hide indoors or say goodbye to beaches and pools to protect yourself from the sun. There are many tips and tricks one can utilize to stay safe, no matter the outdoor activity. The following are 6 top tips you can take to prevent sun damage:
- Wear sunscreen - Using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 or higher will help protect your skin from those harmful UVA/UVB rays. Always aim for an SPF of at least 50 for your face and décolletage.
- Wear hats - Don't be afraid of oversized, floppy hats! They'll protect your scalp as well as your hair from getting burned.
- Wear clothes - Garments like coverups and lightweight clothing that cover skin can be a life saver in extremely sunny conditions.
- Wear sunglasses - Our eyes, as well as the skin surrounding them, are very sensitive to UV rays and the sun. Wearing shades can prevent potential UV damage but be sure to wear a pair that's labeled as UV protected.
- Umbrellas - Did you know umbrellas were originally invented for sun protection? Carry a small one for hikes and walks; and be sure to pack a large one for trips to the beach and park.
- Seek shade - When all else fails or you find yourself stuck without any of the above resources, it is important to seek shade to limit sun exposure as much as possible.
What To Do If You Get Sunburnt
Despite your best efforts, you might end up with a sunburn. Although sometimes quite painful, sunburn usually heals itself in a week or two. Suppose you are in a lot of pain or see signs of infection in the burned areas of your skin, it is time to see your doctor. You might be prescribed a medication to ease the pain, inflammation, and/or redness of extreme sunburn. Some of these medications include:
- Prednisone: An oral steroid that reduces inflammation. If prescribed for sunburn, it can ease the sunburn pain by reducing the swelling.
- Ala-Cort: A topical steroid cream applied to the affected areas. It can reduce swelling and redness, as well as ease the itch and burning sensations associated with sunburn.
- Pain relievers: While you can get these over the counter, your doctor might prescribe prescription-strength painkillers for extreme cases, like ibuprofen.
- Antibiotics: In general, antibiotics wouldn't normally be prescribed for a simple sunburn. However, if your skin has blistered, you may develop a bacterial infection. Your doctor may prescribe a topical or oral antibiotic like neomycin in these rare cases.
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