Summer is a season to enjoy outdoor activities and sunshine, but it also brings the risk of heat-related illnesses such as sunstroke and heat exhaustion. Overheating can cause serious medical conditions, and in extreme cases it can even be fatal. During UV Safety Awareness Month in July, we should be reminded about the dangers of ultraviolet (UV) rays, excessive heat exposure and how to prevent heat-related illnesses. AFC Urgent Care Malden has you covered with a guide on UV safety and ways to stay safe in the sun this summer season!
UV Rays Are Harmful In Many Ways
Some of you might associate UV rays with only “sunburns”. But in fact, they cause more harm to the body than you realize. UV rays are the main cause of sunburn because they can damage your skin cells and immune system. But, they can also cause eye damage, cataracts and even skin cancer.
UV rays come in three different forms: UVA, UVB, and UVC. UVA and UVB rays are the common rays that we are exposed to. However, we can still be exposed to UVC rays (the shortest UV ray wavelength of the three) because of artificial sources like tanning beds and UV sun lamps. It’s important to protect against overexposure to these rays so you don’t develop any of the serious health complications we mentioned earlier.
Lastly, don’t forget about heat exhaustion and sunstroke.
Too Much Exposure To UV Rays Can Also Lead To Heat Exhaustion And Heat Stroke
July and sometimes August are the months where we experience a heat wave or two. During these heat waves, UV rays are at their highest and weather conditions are extremely hot and dangerous to be doing any activity.
Heat exhaustion is usually because of overexposure to UV rays, and dehydration. You may feel symptoms of dizziness and excessive sweating, which means that you need to seek medical attention as soon as possible and to rehydrate. On the other hand, sunstroke is the more fatal condition of the two. Sunstroke usually doesn’t have symptoms of sweating, but a high fever and a rapid pulse. This is usually from overexertion under the sun and not hydrating. It is important to seek medical attention as this condition is more serious and may even lead to death.
How Can I Protect Myself Against UV Rays, Sunstroke And Heat Exhaustion
We’re glad you asked! Sunscreen; preferably with an SPF of at least 30, is the first line of defense when protecting against UVA and UVB rays. We also suggest these tips for avoiding heat related illnesses and how to stay cool during a heat wave:
- Wear a hat, light-colored clothing (white or pale), sunglasses, and appropriate footwear to protect yourself from UV rays
- Stay in the shade as much as possible and avoid areas that are exposed to full sunlight for long periods of time, like hillsides or beaches with no shade available nearby. You can also go to the mall or a coffee shop where they have a/c.
- Avoid strenuous activity, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun is at its strongest.
- Make sure you read the ingredients on your sunscreen bottle to ensure it says UVA and UVB protection! Don’t forget to reapply sunscreen every two hours.
- Hydrate with water and electrolytes (avoid alcohol under the sun)
AFC Urgent Care Malden Wishes Everyone A Happy And Sun Safe 4th Of July
The UV rays are out and they’re beaming on us. We hope that you all have learned something new when it comes to sun safety and heat related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heat stroke prevention. Please remember these tips when planning events like Fourth of July and other gatherings when outdoors.
AFC Urgent Care Malden will be here if you need us for urgent care related services such as tick bites and removals, travel vaccines and medicine, COVID-19 testing and a whole lot more, 7 days a week. You can walk-in any day of the week. Our hours are: weekdays from 8am-8pm and 8am-5pm on the weekends.