Summer is finally here! It’s a great time to get outside, be more physically active and enjoy various exciting summer activities and events. Whether you are headed out to the beach or lake, attending a barbecue or pool party or heading outside to exercise, sun safety is extremely important.
July is UV Safety Awareness Month, but it is important to be mindful of skin protection throughout the entire of the year. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), ultra-violet (UV) radiation exposure is the root cause of most skin cancers.
According to the FDA, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Current estimates are that 1 in 5 Americans are at risk of developing skin cancer in their lifetime. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, an estimated 196,060 people in the US were diagnosed with melanoma in 2020. That is a disheartening statistic since 90% of melanomas are considered preventable.
We have prepared these tips for you because we care about your overall health, not only your physical therapy needs. Our goal is to share our knowledge, so that you and your family stay safe and healthy.
These tips from the American Cancer Society can you help you be smart, while exposed to the UV light of the sun during July and the summer months:
This includes wearing long sleeves and long pants. A wide brimmed hat will help to keep the sun off your face, ears, neck and scalp. The less skin showing the better!
Dark fabrics, polyester, rayon, and wool provide the most protection from sun exposure. Avoid wearing cotton fabrics, especially when exercising outdoors, because the fabric becomes more permeable when wet with sweat.
You should avoid direct sun exposure between the hours of 10:00am and 4:00pm since this is when UV rays are the strongest. If you find it impossible to refrain from being outside between those hours, then be sure to cover your skin as much as possible.
Spending 15 minutes in the sun increases risk of skin damage.
It is important to apply sunscreen regularly. Doctors recommend sunscreen should be reapplied every 40-80 minutes. The more active you are, the more frequently you should apply sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 30.
You should use a broad spectrum sunscreen because it offers the best protection as it protects from both types of UV radiation: UVA rays and UVB rays. While sunscreen is especially important in the summer, it should be worn all year round. Sunscreen should be reapplied at least every 2 hours and after sweating or swimming.
Protect your eyes.
Make it a habit to wear sunglasses when outside and driving. You will get the most protection from wrap around sunglasses that block at least 99% of UV light.
Did you know sand reflects 10-15% UV radiation? Various surfaces reflect the sun’s radiation which increases your risk of overexposure. Locations at higher elevations have more intense UV radiation than lower elevations. Even on cloudy days, 80% of the sun’s UV rays make it through the clouds, so make sure to use UV radiation protection all the time.
Sun exposure doesn’t just affect those going to the pool or beach. It affects runners, golfers, gardeners, outside workers and more. Protecting yourself from the sun should be as important to you as taking your vitamins and a yearly check up.
As healthcare professionals, our goal is to help our patients regain and/or maintain good health and function so they can live their best life. Being outside and active in the fresh air can do wonders for the body and the mind as long as you practice sun safety when your doing it.
So get out and enjoy your HOT Louisiana Summer, just don’t forget the sunscreen!
Lynn J, Urda J, and Pierce P. Sun Exposure and Exercise. The Good, the Bad, and the Behavior Change. ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal 2016; 20(3): 11-15.
Ogan D, Pritchett K. Vitamin D and the Athlete Risks, Recommendations, and Benefits. Nutrients 2013; 5(6):1856-1868.
Renda, Elisabeth. Are You Sun Safe When You Exercise? PUBLICATION. 2015. Available at: http://healthcare.utah.edu/healthfeed/postings/2015/06/060115_extreme.running.php. Accessed May 5, 2016.
MedlinePlus. Sun Exposure. Also called: Sunburn. U.S National Library of Medicine. Available at: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/sunexposure.html. Accessed May 5, 2016.