Let the sun shine: Enjoy your season outside and still play safe

Posted on: July 05, 2017

 

 

When we were children, summertime meant endless outdoor fun. As teens, we sunbathed with baby oil to ensure the darkest tan. Fast-forward to adulthood. Add cumulative exposure to ultraviolet light to a thinning ozone layer and you have a higher incidence of skin cancer. But while cancer is a serious concern, you don’t have to become a summer shut-in. Use these tips to help you safely enjoy your season in the sun.

 

AVOID 10 TO 4

For years, Northside Hospital Cancer Institute experts and Atlanta meteorologists alike have warned to stay indoors during the heat of the day. Avoid the peak hours of the sun. Its rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so try to schedule outdoor activities around those times.

SLATHER ON THE SUNSCREEN

Liberally apply sunscreen about 20 to 30 minutes before going outside. Because the sun emits two types of harmful rays—UVA and UVB—your sunscreen should provide “broad-spectrum” protection against both, with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15.

REAPPLY, REAPPLY, REAPPLY

Reapplying sunscreen may be the most neglected step in the sun safety regimen. Don’t just put it on and forget it. Sunscreen should be reapplied about every two hours while you’re outdoors, and every 40 minutes if you’re swimming.

HAT’S IT!

Wear a hat that protects your face, neck and ears. Choose one with a wide brim at least three to four inches around for suitable coverage. The bucket and wide-brimmed farmer’s hats, in a lightweight straw or cotton twill, are two classic, stylish choices. 

SEEK SHADE

While trees and umbrellas provide protection, you still need to protect yourself under them. The sun’s rays can scatter, penetrate and reflect to reach you.

DRESS FOR THE OCCASION

Covering up in dark, tight-knit fabric is the best way to protect your skin, but it’s no fun in the summer heat. Fortunately, some companies now make lightweight clothing with effective sun protection. These items bear an ultraviolet protection factor or UPF (think of it as an SPF for fabric) of 15 to 50 on their labels.

PLAY MOVIE STAR

Forget paparazzi cameras; you have a better reason to shield your eyes. The eye area is incredibly vulnerable. Prolonged sun exposure can damage your eyes and increase your risk of developing eye disease.” Choose sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB radiation.

ADD IT ALL UP

Though each of these tips is important, adhering to one or two isn’t enough. Doing just one thing won’t adequately protect you against the extensive sun exposure you get in the summer months. Wear the hat, the clothing, the sunglasses and the sunscreen. They’re all essential—for everyone. 

GET SCREENED

To learn more about free community screenings, call 404-531-4444.

Filed under: Community,

 

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