Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Sun Safety

Summer is a great time to soak in that Vitamin D! It is nice to lay by the pool all day with a cool beverage in hand. It is a relaxing activity, and by the end of the day you are feeling warm and relaxed. However, days in the sun can put us at risk for sun poisoning and dehydration. The following tips are great ways to reduce your risk of succumbing to sun-related issues:
  • AVOID MID-DAY SUN: The sun’s UVB rays are most intense between the hours of 10 AM to 3 PM. However, the UVA rays that contribute to premature skin aging are present all day.
  • COVER UP: Although clothing does not completely protect you from the sun’s rays, a sun hat, long sleeves, and long pants can help.
  • BE CONSCIOUS OF REFLECTED LIGHT: Sand, cement, water, and snow can reflect harmful radiation. Even on cloudy days, up to 80% of the sun’s radiation reaches the ground. So, try to stay in the shade as much as possible.
  • DON’T MIX SUN AND CERTAIN MEDICATIONS: Some medications cause the user to be more sensitive to light and susceptible to burning. Always read the warnings for your medications before going out in the sun.
  • USE A SUNBLOCK AND REMEMBER TO REAPPLY: Reapply sunblock if you towel dry or if you have been in the water. Remember, sunblock will only provide protection for the length of time indicated by the Sun Protection Factor number.
  • EXAMINE YOUR SKIN REGULARLY: Be on the lookout for any new raised growths, itchy patches, non-healing sores, or changes in moles or new colored areas that might signify a form of cancer. If any of these conditions are present, see a doctor immediately!
One of the best clips to show how damaging the sun is can be found on YouTube. Luckily, it also shows how effective sun screen is. This video is extremely eye-opening and definitely worth the time you will take to watch it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9BqrSAHbTc
The sun’s harmful rays don’t just put your skin at risk; you also have a higher chance of dehydrating. If you are drinking alcoholic beverages, make sure you alternate between water and non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated beverages. Alcohol dehydrates the body. When adding salt and sun to the combination, the body is even more susceptible to dehydration. Be sure to alternate between alcoholic beverages and water.
Mild to moderate dehydration is likely to cause: dry or sticky mouth, sleepiness or tiredness, thirst, decreased urine output, few or no tears when crying, dry skin, headaches, constipation, dizziness or lightheadedness.
Severe dehydration is likely to cause: extreme thirst, irritability and confusion, dry mouth and skin, little or no urination, urine is darker in color than normal, sunken eyes, low blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing, no tears when crying, fever, delirium or unconsciousness.
If you or someone you know starts experiencing these signs, see a medical professional immediately.
Questions or Concerns?

If you have more questions on sun safety, the Health Education Resource Center (HERC) is a great resource. The office is located in Booth House on 4th Street from 8:00am-4:30pm Monday-Friday. For additional information, please call (217) 581-7786 or e-mail herc@eiu.edu.

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