Preparing for Summer

Summer is here. The heat of the sun presses down onto the earth, causing the children’s popsicles to melt and everyone to run for the pool.

We all love to be outside during the summer, as there’s plenty of light and energy in the air. But nothing stops summer fun like getting a bad sunburn. It can take the wind out of your sails when you have to stay inside while your sunburn heals. But what if you had followed a few simple steps, and taken a few simple precautions before going out in the sun? You would not have gotten that bad sunburn! With just a few tips and tricks, you can learn how to keep the sunlight in the sky and not burning your body.

#1. Know Your Sunscreen.

A high number of people go out in the sun without using sunscreen. One reason why people don’t apply sunscreen is because they think they won’t get burned. They think they won’t be outside long enough to need it, or that they’ll just stay in the shade. How many of you have gone outside during summer thinking you’d just stay in the shade?

Another reason is incorrect application of sunscreen. It takes about 6-8 tablespoons of sunscreen to provide enough coverage to your body. Planning on taking a trip to the beach with your spouse for two days? Pack two bottles of sunscreen, and use them up by the end of the second day. And remember, when first applying, wait the recommended amount of time on the sunscreen bottle before heading outdoors.

Not all sunscreens are created equal. The higher the SPF number, the better blockage the sunscreen will have. Zinc Oxide (famous for being the white strips on lifeguards’ faces) is one of the best blockers for sunscreen. Look for sunscreens with a high Zinc Oxide count. Your dermatologist is also a great resource for sunscreen recommendations.

#2. Stay Hydrated.

While you may be around water all day, your body needs more water in summertime. We lose a lot of water through sweat, and combined with time in the sun, further draws water out of our body. Carry a refillable water bottle with you, and try to refill it at least once while you’re out. There are plenty of supplements on the market that can help assist hydration. Electrolytes are a good way to replenish much needed vitamins to the body, and they aid with fluid retention for better hydration. Check with your doctor to see if electrolytes will work for you.

#3. Wear a Hat.

The bigger the brim on the hat, the safer your skin will be from the sun. Hats made out of straw with a tight weave will provide the most comfort while shading your skin. Many sun hats now contain SPF, to double the protection for you and your skin from the sun.

#4. Clothing: What to Wear Where.

As much as we love wearing T-Shirts and shorts in the summer, it’s actually safer and smarter to wear long pants and shirts. You can now buy clothing containing SPF content in the fabric itself. Most sporting goods and outdoor recreational service stores are good sources for clothing with SPF in it. If shopping is not your thing, inspect your wardrobe for clothing with a tighter weave to it. The closer the threads on the fabric, the more dense and sun resistant the fabric is. Lighter color clothing will help to reflect the light of the sun off of you, keeping you cooler.

#5. Lighten up Around the House.

Try to minimize use of appliances- ovens can cause the house to heat up. Open the windows at night, but close windows and blinds during the day to keep cool air in the house. If you are fortunate enough to have an A/C unit, now’s the time to use it. If not, fans placed around the house will help to keep air circulating to make you feel cooler. Turn down the extra blankets and decorative throws on the bed. Cotton sheets with a light blanket will help you wake up feeling refreshed and renewed.

#6. Keeping Pets Cool.

If you have pets, make sure you pay extra attention to them during the summer. Place multiple bowls of water around the house and refill them often. Keep the pet bed in a cool, dark part of the house. In the same room as the A/C unit would be ideal. Try to walk dogs before 10am and after 5pm, to keep out of the peak hours of the sun. Fido might enjoy having a kiddie pool filled with water or ice to lie down in. Don’t hesitate to call your vet if your pet starts exhibiting unusual behavior. Keep an eye out for excessive panting, sweating, drooling, lethargy, and little to no urination. These could all be signs of heat exhaustion.

#7. Heat Exhaustion: Need to Know.

Finally, keep an eye on yourself and loved ones. Sudden feelings of dizziness, fatigue, headache, sweating, and a rapid heart rate could be indications of heat exhaustion. Don’t hesitate to move yourself and loved ones indoors and to call your doctor if anyone exhibits these symptoms.

Time to Get Ready for the Beach!

Summer is one of the best times of the year. School is out, families are on vacation, and you’re able to spend time with loved relatives. It’s fun to go traveling and to explore places and cultures outside of your own. By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be able to travel smarter. Even if you’re just going out to the store or to the beach, you know that you can stay protected from the sun and enjoy a great day out with your family.


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