Summer is now in full swing and most of us just want to spend it relaxing at the beach or swimming in the sea. With so much fun to be had, we have to remember to stay safe. We are bombarded with messages to keep safe in the sun each year, but do we really need them?
WARNING: UV Danger!
The sun provides light and heat through UV radiation made up of UVA and UVB rays. But what do these rays do? UVA rays account for the vast majority of rays the sun emits, but THEY ARE less intense than UVB. Despite being less intense, UVA rays are the main contributors to skin cancer, while UVB rays are the main cause for burnt skin and redness. Despite the common-held misconception that fair-skinned people are more at risk from melanoma, which is the most dangerous type of skin cancer, it can affect people of any skin type just as badly.
As well as the threat of skin cancer and sunburn, you have to consider what the sun and heat can do to your body. Dehydration is a common trigger for illness during the summer, causing headaches, dryness of skin including your mouth and lips, dizziness and even fainting. Keep water with you and drink throughout the day. Sunstroke (aka heatstroke) is another illness that can affect you if you are exposed to too much sun. Symptoms include nausea, flushed skin, headache, sweating, high body temperature and abnormal behaviour or mental state and can, in extreme circumstances, result in hospitalisation.
You are not Immune- Stay Safe
Now you’ve read about the dangers of too much exposure to the sun and heat, what are you going to do to avoid them? Firstly, do not think you are immune! We’re all guilty of thinking “it won’t happen to me”, but it can. Skin cancer can affect anyone, so ensure you cover yourself with high SPF sun screen if you are going to spend time in the sun.
Wear lightweight clothing to protect your skin all over and keep yourself cool. Wear hats and sunglasses to protect your head, face and eyes. Stay hydrated – water will hydrate skin and body to keep your body functioning properly. Stay in the shade when possible to keep your body temperature from rising to a dangerous level.
Finally, enjoy the summer, but be cautious. Not doing so can have grave consequences. You’re obliged to keep yourself safe this summer!