Sunshine is a vital source of life, but it can also be harmful if one does not take the necessary precautions. At Centers Urgent Care, we see many sun-related conditions that could easily be prevented with the right knowledge and practices to protect your skin well. This blog post will provide essential tips on sun safety to help you enjoy your time outdoors while reducing your risk of skin damage and other health issues.
Understanding the Risks
Excessive exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can lead to skin damage, eye problems, and even skin cancer. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Therefore, it’s important to understand the risks and take the necessary precautions to help protect yourself and your loved ones. Symptoms of skin cancer include changes in the appearance of moles or other skin lesions, new growths, or sores that don’t heal.
Sun stroke, also known as heat stroke, is another serious health risk associated with excessive sun exposure. It happens when the body overheats, usually as a result of prolonged exposure to or physical exertion in high temperatures. This most serious form of heat injury can occur if your body temperature rises to 104 F (40 C) or higher. Symptoms may include a throbbing headache, dizziness, lack of sweating despite the heat, red hot and dry skin, muscle weakness or cramping, nausea and vomiting, rapid heartbeat, and mental disturbances such as confusion or unconsciousness. Immediate medical attention is necessary if you suspect sun stroke. While waiting for medical help, move the person to a shaded or cool area and remove excess clothing. Taking steps to reduce exposure and staying hydrated can help prevent sun stroke.
Sun Safety Tips
1. Use Sunscreen
Always apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to all exposed skin, even on cloudy days. Reapply every two hours, or immediately after swimming or sweating. Remember, no sunscreen can block 100% of UV rays, so it’s important to use other forms of sun protection as well.
2. Seek Shade
The sun’s rays are most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If possible, try to stay in the shade during these hours. If you must be outside, wear protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, pants, wide-brimmed hats, and sunglasses.
3. Protect Your Eyes
Prolonged sun exposure can cause cataracts and other eye conditions. Always wear sunglasses that block 99-100% of UV rays.
4. Stay Hydrated
The heat can cause dehydration, which increases your risk of heat-related illnesses. Drink plenty of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
5. Check Your Skin Regularly
Regular skin checks can help detect signs of skin cancer early. Look for any changes in size, shape, color, or feel of birthmarks, moles, and spots. If you notice any changes or new spots, seek medical attention immediately.
When to Visit an Urgent Care
Despite your best efforts, you may still experience sunburn, heat exhaustion, or other sun-related conditions. If you have severe sunburn with blisters, extreme pain, or symptoms of heat exhaustion like nausea, dizziness, and rapid heartbeat, visit a Centers Urgent Care location immediately.
At Centers, we are committed to reduce your risk by providing prompt, high-quality care for all your urgent health needs. Remember, prevention is always better than cure. Stay safe this summer!