Albright College



Sun Safety

The summer weather is here!  The season for swimming, barbecuing, going to the beach, or just playing catch in the backyard.  While summer means getting out and doing things you enjoy, it also means increased risk for things like heat exhaustion, heat stroke, skin cancer, and dehydration.  You can help keep your body and skin safe from these things by using the following tips:

  • Wear sunscreen with a SPF of 15 or higher with UVA and UVB protection.  Use the recommended amount for optimal skin protection. If you are concerned about the possible effects of oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate please see the link below regarding best sunscreens.
  • Stay hydrated.  The normal recommendation is that you should drink 64 ounces of water; in high temperatures, it should be increased by 50%.  Keeping a reusable water bottle and refilling it throughout the day can help to keep you hydrated.
  • Wear loose fitting long sleeved shirts and long pants made from tightly woven fabrics- if this isn’t practical, wear a T-shirt of a dark color, as this may offer more skin protection than lighter colors.
  • Wear a wide brim hat to shade the face, head, ears, and neck
  • Wear sunglasses with as close to 100% UVA and UVB protection as possible.
  • Seek shade whenever possible while outdoors.

It’s important also to know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.  Heat exhaustion/stroke occurs when sweating is unable to meet the cooling demands of the body and the body temperature rises.  With heat exhaustion, symptoms include:

  • profuse sweating
  • weakness
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • headache
  • lightheadedness
  • muscle cramps

Progression of heat exhaustion turns into heart stroke (a form of hyperthermia) which unlike heat exhaustion is a true medical emergency that can be fatal if not promptly treated.  Common signs of heat stroke include:

  • rapid pulse
  • difficulty breathing
  • strange behavior
  • hallucinations
  • seizures
  • agitation

Preventing heat exhaustion and heat stroke are similar to the above sun safety tips.  Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.  Try to avoid beverages that contain caffeine as caffeine acts as a diuretic which will cause your body to lose excess fluid that it needs in hot weather.  Wear lightweight, lose clothing and use an umbrella as shade if you cannot find natural shade outdoors.

The hours between 10am and 4pm are the most hazardous for UV exposure, so make sure you are protecting yourself using these tips; especially during these hours.  Have a Safe and Happy Summer!

For more information on how to protect yourself from the sun, click on a link below.

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