Spring time represents many people’s favorite season in Florida. Here in Hudson, the weather is beautiful with warm days, cool nights, and relatively low humidity–considering what July and August have in store for us. All of this beautiful weather tends to lead to more time outside. Whether it is a day spent at Veteran’s Memorial Park (where we would love for you to join us for our Healthy Legs Walking Group every Wednesday) or an afternoon of gardening, you will need to prepare for sun exposure.
Basking in the sunlight can be great. You get to enjoy the outdoors and benefit from the fact that taking in moderate amounts of sunlight helps your body to naturally create Vitamin D. But as we all know, overdoing it can lead to trouble. From sunburns to melanoma, we must all take efforts to guard against the potentially harmful effects of the sun. With proper preparation it is actually very easy to strike a safe balance between enjoying the outdoors and keeping your skin safe.
The Best Ways to Prepare
- Run on some sunscreen: The most prominent option out there for protecting your skin from the sun’s rays is sunscreen. This product comes in a wide variety of options, from a wide variety of manufacturers. Sunscreen protects your skin by absorbing, blocking, and even reflecting sun rays before they are able to encounter your skin. This product comes in a range of SPF (sun protection factor) ratings. Basically the higher the rating, the more protection you receive. While you should not waste time with a sunscreen that has a rating below 15, you are safe to use sunscreens with a minimum SPF of 30. Remember to reapply sun screen every few hours and to check the expiration date to make sure it is still effective.
- Wear the right clothing: Before humans had sunscreen, humans had loose fitting, long-sleeve clothing and hats. Anything that covers your skin and presents a layer between your skin and the sun is a good thing. Darker colors block sun rays better than lighter colors, as do heavier fabric. Of course you will want to find balance between clothing that can block the sun and clothing that keeps you comfortable on a warm day. Hats with large bills are excellent ideas and are always a welcome accessory for a day at the beach or out fishing on Lake Tarpon.
- Get out of the sun: Taking a break from the sun every few hours is a good idea. Seeking a shady spot gives you time to cool off while avoiding exposure to the sun. You can go inside a building (often your best bet) or seek the shade provided by a large tree or a pavilion. Remember that if you are outside, you are still exposed to sun rays while you are in the shade, so this is not a fix for the problem or a replacement for sunscreen and protective clothing.
Other Things to Remember
- Sun tans are overrated. Sun tans might be fashionable, but they are evidence that some of your skin has died. Ultimately they peel off just like the dead skin you lose when you are getting over a sunburn.
- Tanning beds are not safer. Tanning beds might seem like a controlled environment, but don’t be fooled. They expose your skin to harmful rays, and often people lie in a tanning bed for far too long.
- Sun glasses are good. Sun glasses protect your eyes from the potential damage that the sun can cause. Choose a pair that wraps around your eyes and is rated to provide 100% UV protection. Spending more on this feature is essential.
- Stay inside from 10AM to 4PM. This is the window during the day when the sun delivers the strongest, most damaging rays. If you are outside during these times, please remember your sunscreen and protective clothing.
Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point in Hudson is a full-service hospital that is dedicate to keeping our neighbors healthy. Please take this advice to heart next time you are going to spend an afternoon outdoors. If you have further skin care-related questions or would like to locate a doctor, call Consult-A-Nurse® at (727)869-5498, a free service that we offer the community.