The sun is a beautiful thing. It makes us feel happy and relaxed, but it can also cause some serious damage to our skin. It's important to know the risks that come with spending too much time in the sun, especially during UV Safety Awareness Month. If you're worried about getting burned or even worse—getting sun sick (heat exhaustion or heatstroke) because of your love of all things outdoors—AFC Urgent Care Springfield has some tips for you to stay sun safe and UV protected this summer!
Overexposure To UV Rays Often Lead To Heat Exhaustion, Sunstroke And Other Health Issues
Did you know that there are three types of UV rays? They are: UVA, UVB and UVC rays. Thanks to the ozone layer, UVC and most UVB rays from the sun are filtered out.
We’re mostly exposed to UVA and UVB rays, but we can be exposed to UVC rays if we use tanning beds and other artificial sources like UV sun lamps. Overexposure to these rays may lead to skin cancer, serious burns, damage to your eyes, cataracts, and heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Know the differences between heat exhaustion and sunstroke.
It's easy to confuse heat exhaustion and sunstroke, but they're actually very different. Heat exhaustion is the milder of the two and occurs when your body becomes dehydrated after sweating too much and losing too much salt. Symptoms include dizziness, nausea, fatigue and headache. Heat exhaustion that's not treated right away can lead to heat stroke— also known as sunstroke, a more serious condition in which your body temperature rises so high that it can cause organ failure or even death.
Heat exhaustion symptoms are similar to those of heat exhaustion but tend to be more severe; you may feel hot all over with a rapid pulse rate (over 100 beats per minute) as well as confusion or irritability. If you think you have either condition go see a doctor immediately!
The most important thing you can do this summer is to stay hydrated, even when you're not thirsty. Continue drinking water while working outside (and inside) — especially during breaks in your activity. A sports drink with electrolytes will help replace them faster than plain water does and may be better for those who are exercising for long periods of time or sweating heavily.
Be sure to also:
- Use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 (or higher) even if it's cloudy or raining because UV rays can still penetrate these conditions.
- Wearing a brimmed hat, sunglasses that protects from UV rays and lighter colored/loose fitted clothing
- Avoiding the outdoors between the hours of 10am and 4pm. This is usually when UV rays are at their highest.
- Find shade or go to places where they have a/c like the mall, a coffee shop or library where you can stay cool.
UV Safety Should Be The First Thing On Your List For Summer Fun Outdoors
Now that you know the dangers of the sun's harmful UV rays and heat exhaustion and sunstroke, you can make better decisions when planning outdoor activities this summer. Remember to stay hydrated, wear sunscreen and protect your eyes from UV rays with sunglasses.
AFC Urgent Care Springfield will be here for you 7 days a week if you need urgent care for things like, tick bites and removals, travel vaccinations and medicine, COVID-19 testing, summer camp physicals, and a whole lot more!
Walk-in or make an appointment, today! We are open weekdays from 8am-8pm and 8am-5pm on the weekends.