Staying Safe in the Hot Summer Sun

Some people think about sun safety only when they spend a day at the lake, beach, or pool.  But sun exposure adds up every time you are in the sun. Children need special care. They tend to spend more time outdoors. They can burn easier, and may not know about the dangers too much sun can cause.

We all need some sunshine. It’s our main source of vitamin D, which helps us take in calcium for stronger, healthier bones. But it doesn’t take much time in the sun for most people to get the vitamin D they need. Repeated, unprotected time under the sun’s ultraviolet rays can cause skin damage, eye damage, skin cancer, dehydration, heat exhaustion, and other heat related illnesses.

The summer sun is hot! It’s important to always practice sun safety but especially when experiencing a heat wave. Heat related illnesses are preventable.

Follow these tips to stay safe in the summer sun!

  • Avoid staying out in the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Seek shade!
  • If you must work in direct sunlight, take regular breaks in the shade.
  • Limit strenuous activity, especially during the hottest part of the day.
  • Stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water.
  • Dress for the conditions! Cover up with clothes that protect you. Guard as much skin as possible when you are out in the sun. Wear loose, lightweight, and light colored clothing.
  • Use sunscreen and lip balm!
    •  Choose a product that covers all types of the sun’s rays (UVA, UVB) and a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher.
    • Put on a good amount of sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going outdoors.
    • Reapply every 2 hours and after swimming, toweling dry, or sweating.
    • Sunscreen doesn’t protect from all UV rays. Don’t use sunscreen as a way to stay out in the sun too long.
  • Cover your head with a wide-brimmed hat. Be sure it shades your face, ears, and neck. If you wear a baseball cap, remember to protect your ears and neck with sunscreen.
  • Wear sunglasses with 100% UVA and UVB absorption for the best protection for the eyes and the nearby skin.
  • NEVER leave children or pets in a vehicle- even in the shade or for a short time.
  • Check up on those most vulnerable- children, elderly, the sick, and those without air conditioning.
  • Follow these habits even on cloudy or overcast days. UV rays can travel through clouds.

To learn more about sun safety and heat related illness, go to www.weather.gov/heat.

For more information, please call Four Corners Health Department toll-free at 1-877-337-3573 or 402-362-2621. You can also email info@fourcorners.ne.gov.