Summertime is a magical series of moments. Children are out of school and some have graduations to celebrate. Families begin to gather and there are barbeques and picnics to attend. Thanks to the sun, outdoor activities such as golf, tennis, hiking and fishing can be enjoyed. It is a wonderful time to be outside enjoying the sun.
Know the Risks
But, as much as we love the sun, we have to respect it and the damage it can inflict. As we engage in more outdoor activities and spend more time outside, we vastly increase our exposure to UV light. The Federal Occupational Health agency has made July UV Safety Month which is a great time to focus on the threat the sun poses to us as we age.
As we age, our skin becomes thinner, allowing the UV light to penetrate deeper into our skin. The sun’s rays break down the elastin, or elastic tissue, in our skin which leads to blotchiness, wrinkles and sagging. Our eyes are affected by the sun, too, with extended exposure leading to cataracts and degeneration. Then, there is the serious threat of heat stroke coming after long stretches in the sun and a lack of hydration.
Fortunately, there are many steps we can take to provide protection to our our skin and eyes. Best of all, they are easy to implement.
Safeguard Your Skin
When it comes to our skin, always start with sunscreen. Sunscreen should be applied liberally anywhere the sun can make contact with skin. All sunscreens have a SPF (sun protection factor) number. The higher the number means the more UV light is being blocked. A minimum SPF of 15 should be used for everyday excursions but if we are going to be outside all day it is recommended to use a minimum of SPF 30, with additional re-application every few hours. We want to choose a water-resistant sunscreen anytime we may come in contact with water, obviously, but also when we find ourselves in a situation where we might sweat, like on the golf course or tennis court.
The right clothing choices further protect our skin. Wearing a wide brimmed hat blocks the sun from our faces and eyes. Long-sleeved shirts and long pants will keep the sun off sensitive arms and legs. Make sure the materials in the clothing are breathable yet densely woven so light does not break through the fabric. Your skin will thank you for following these steps.
Protect Your Eyes
Sunglasses are a must on sunny days to help us see, but they serve a purpose on cloudy days as well. Harmful UV rays pierce through clouds so keep your sunglasses on when you are outdoors. We want to make sure that the lens in the glasses offer full UV protection. The American Academy of Ophthalmology has many resources on eye health, safety and tips on their website www.geteyesmart.org. Pick a pair of glasses that not only shield your eyes but show off your personality as well. There are so many great styles out there to choose from you’ll have no trouble finding the right match. It is possible to be both stylish and safe.
Limit Your Exposure
Lastly, prolonged stretches of time under the sun and heavy heat require us to be extra diligent of the risk of heat stroke. Limit your time in direct sunlight. Pick a spot in the shade to rest periodically and always have access to drinking water. The sun emits the most UV light between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM so plan activities earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon. Longer summer days mean plenty of sunshine to go around so there will always be time for activities.
It’s time to get outside and enjoy the warmth of the sun. Silverstone Living invites all its residents and members to enjoy the dog days of summer. Just remember to pack your sunscreen.
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