Staying Safe in the Sun
- Seek shade, especially during midday hours. This includes 10 am to 4 pm, March through October, and 9 am to 3 pm, November through February. Umbrellas, trees, or other shelters can provide relief from the sun.
- Be extra careful around surfaces that reflect the sun’s rays, like snow, sand, water, and concrete.
- Wear protective clothing. If possible, wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and hats. If that’s not practical, try wearing a T-shirt or a beach cover-up. Hats with wide brims not only cover your face, but they also protect other easy-to-forget spots like your ears and your scalp.
- Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts and other eye problems. Wrap-around sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays offer the best protection by blocking UV rays from the side.
- Apply a thick layer of broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher at least 15 minutes before going outside, even on cloudy or overcast days. Reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours and after swimming, sweating, or toweling off.
- Get to know your skin. Skin cancer is easier to treat when caught early, so get to know your skin and watch for changes. Look for new skin markings, like moles, bumps, scaly spots, or places where your skin has changed color. Watch moles for changes in size, texture, color, or shape. Take note if a mole has uneven edges, differences in color, or one half that is different than the other. Talk to your doctor if you notice any of these changes.
Staying Safe in the Heat
The best way to avoid a heat-related illness is to limit exposure outdoors during hot days. The best ways to cool off;
- Seek air conditioning.
- Drink more liquid than you think you need and avoid alcohol.
- Wear loose, lightweight clothing and a hat.
- Replace salt lost from sweating by drinking fruit juice or sports drinks.
- Avoid spending time outdoors during the hottest part of the day, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Wear sunscreen; sunburn affects the body’s ability to cool itself.
- Pace yourself when you run or otherwise exert your body.
There are several heat-related illnesses, including heatstroke, heat exhaustion and heat cramps. Those most at risk include: Infants and young children, elderly people, pets, individuals with heart or circulatory problems or other long-term illness, people who work outdoors, athletes and people who like to exercise – especially beginners, individuals taking medications that alter sweat production, alcoholics and drug abusers.
Heat stroke– Signs and symptoms include flushed skin that is very hot to the touch; rapid breathing; headache, dizziness, confusion or irrational behavior; and convulsions or unresponsiveness. The victim also will likely have stopped sweating.
Heat Exhaustion– Symptoms are similar to those of the flu and can include severe thirst, fatigue, headache, nausea, vomiting and, sometimes, diarrhea. Other symptoms include profuse sweating, clammy or pale skin, dizziness, rapid pulse and normal or slightly elevated body temperature.
Heat Cramps– Excessive sweating reduces salt levels in the body, which can result in heat cramps. Workers or athletes with pain or spasms in the abdomen, arms or legs should not return to work for a few hours.