Sun Safety Pro-Tips

Diego Ponieman, M.D., M.P.H.

by Diego Ponieman M.D., M.P.H.

Summer should be a time to relax, take in the sun, and have fun. However, too often people are unaware of the dangers the sun can cause. Most importantly, UV rays from the sun are the #1 cause of skin cancer in the United States. Luckily, many of these dangers are easy to avoid.

Protecting yourself and your loved ones from the sun is very important to help help prevent skin cancer. But aside from skin cancer, you could also get serious sunburns, damage to your cataracts, and heat stroke from the summer heat.

The best way to stay safe in the summer is to simply be responsible. Everyone knows to put on sunscreen, be hydrated, and stay in the shade. But there are many other lesser-known safety measures that you should follow as well.

  • Limit Sun Exposure from 10:00am to 4:00pm: During these hours, the sun’s rays are at their strongest. A good rule to follow is the Shadow Rule: if your shadow is shorter than you, the sun’s rays are at their strongest, and you should find shade.
  • Pay attention to your medication: Certain medications may make you more susceptible to the sun. Specifically, these include types of antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, antifungals, blood pressure medications, and chemotherapies. Ask your doctor about potential sun sensitivities associated with your medication.
  • Be careful around water and sand: Water and sand reflect the harmful sun rays that cause many sunburns.
  • Avoid warm showers with a sunburn: Keep sunburned areas cool so that the natural oils from the skin are not completely stripped away.
  • Dry out your ears after going in water: Swimming is among the most popular activities in the summer. However, if you do not completely dry out your ears, you are at risk of an ear infection.
  • Check the expiration date on your sunscreen: Sunscreen, just like food, has an expiration date. Make sure your sunscreen is up to date so that it works effectively!
  • Wear sunglasses: Sunglasses protect your eyes from harmful UV rays, and protect your cataracts from the sun. Specifically, look for sunglasses that wrap around your eyes so that the rays don’t sneak in on the sides.

As you can see, there is much more to sun safety than what is commonly known. By following these tips responsibly, you can limit your risk of getting a sunburn – or worse. Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay in the shade this summer, but don’t forget to have some fun along the way!

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