Doctors at the Centers for Disease Control have a handful of tips to make sure your time in the great outdoors remains great.
Wear sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 15 or higher and make sure it protects from both UVA and UVB rays. Don’t get overly confident in the SPF number. It is only factored in protection against UVB rays. Experts recommend reapplying often, especially if you (or your kids) are swimming or sweating.
Apply the lotion about 30 minutes before heading outside. Many times the ears, lips, nose and tops of feet are forgotten. They all burn quickly too. For babies, make sure you’re using a sunscreen specific for them. Ingredients vary, so read the label or consult a healthcare professional if you have questions.
Find shade BEFORE you start to burn. This should happen especially in the midday hours. The sun’s UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you’re going to the beach, invest in a large umbrella. Visits to the park should include an “easy-up” or seek shade from a tree.
Wear a hat and sunglasses. The hat should provide shade for the scalp, face, ears and neck. Kids typically prefer ball caps. Remember those hats don’t cover the ears or neck so sunscreen is very important to those areas. Sunglasses should block UVA and UVB rays. Improper eye protection can lead to damage like cataracts down the road.
Cover up with a long sleeve shirt and pants when possible. Tightly woven fabrics provide the best protection. There are also clothes on the market that have UV protection in them. Wet clothes aren’t as effective as dry and darker colors seem to protect better than lighter ones.
Drink up and not just when you’re thirsty. Kids will forget this as they’re playing and having fun. Caffeine dehydrates, so water is the best option. Sports drinks are okay, but in moderation because they’re filled with sugar and sodium. Urologists say you know you’re getting enough fluids when your urine is pale yellow or clear.
Following these sun safety tips will make your time outside more enjoyable. Even though a burn is temporary now, you never know what kind of long term damage is being done.
Check out some great outdoor parks and recreation areas to enjoy the weather. http://www.sifamilies.org/parks--recreation.html