How To Stay Safe In The Sun

Summer holidays are here again and like us I’m sure you’ll be praying for sunshine and warm weather. On paper it sounds perfect but temperatures are rising year on year to somewhat dangerous levels. Young children and the elderly are most at risk from these sudden upswings in temperature. The rays from the sun are great for a few days on the beach but can be bad for your health in the long run.

Effects Of The Sun

Prolonged spells in the sun, protected or otherwise, can have a detrimental effect on our bodies. Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun are absorbed through our skin and can cause multiple unwanted side effects. We all know that sunburn is a direct result of being out in the sun too long but too much UV light can rapidly age your skin, damage your eyes, disrupt disease fighting white blood cells in our immune system and even cause cancer – specifically skin cancer.

Ironically, although there are many adverse side effects to UV sun rays there are also a few positives also. It is widely known that UV sunlight produces vitamin D in our bodies which aids in strengthening our bones, maintaining a healthy immune system and even helps in the fight against certain cancers. Sunlight has even been shown to lift our moods as it triggers the release of serotonin in our brains which is a major plus point when fighting depression.

Protect Yourself in The Sun

First and foremost your children should be your main priority when it comes to protection from the sun. Children’s immune systems and skin are highly susceptible to sun rays. Always apply a large amount of sunscreen to your child’s skin 20 minutes before they are going to be outside, then reapply often throughout the day. Make sure the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is 30 or higher. You want a sunscreen that will protect you from harmful UVA and UVB rays.

UVB rays will turn your skin red and might make you look foolish for a few days but UVA rays are the ones to be wary of. These penetrate your skin and cause all the adverse side effects listed above such as damaging the immune system and causing skin cancer.

Other tips

  • Wear a nice big hat to shade yourself from the sun. Direct contact from the sun to your skin is what will cause it to burn so try and cover up as best you can.
  • Your eyesight is very sensitive, too much exposure to UV sunlight will damage your corneas and may cause cataracts in the long run. Wear sunglasses with UV protection.
  • The sun will be at its hottest between the hours 0f 11am and 3pm. Try and avoid being out in the sun during this period, or at least keep it to a bare minimum.
  • When you are venturing out try and find shade throughout the day and remember to drink plenty of water.

Here’s some good advice from the NHS in regards to how to stay safe in the sun.

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