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Sun Safety: Keep the Sun Fun

Make the most of your summertime fun by staying safe in the sun! Incorporate these simple sunscreen, hat, and hydration tips into your everyday routine to protect yourself in hot and sunny conditions.  

Festivals, pools, backyard BBQs – oh my! It’s the season for summertime celebrations.  

But nothing can put summertime fun on ice like a sunburn! To help you keep sun safety top-of-mind this summer, we’ve compiled a few tips to work into your everyday routine. No matter the occasion, your age, or comfort level in the sun, these simple and affordable habits will help keep you safe when spending extra time outdoors.

While it’s especially important to make sun safety a priority during the summer months, these are good practices to keep yourself safe from damaging UV rays all year round. 

Apply SPF 30. Before heading outside in sunny or even cloudy conditions, lather yourself in SPF 30 or higher. Broad spectrum sunscreen offers protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Sunburn is a sign of short-term overexposure to these rays, and premature aging and skin cancer can be side effects of prolonged UV exposure. 

Be sure to apply sunscreen on all uncovered skin. Your face, nose, ears, neck, hands, and feet are especially important to protect as they are most exposed to the sun. It might be helpful to choose a daily face moisturizer with built-in SPF to ensure your face is protected every day. 

Reapply every two hours. This may sound silly but read the sunscreen label to make sure you’re applying it correctly! Sunscreen is highly regulated by the FDA, so you can learn a lot from the labels including reapplication times. At the minimum, you should reapply sunscreen every two hours. No sunscreen is waterproof, so you’ll need to apply more often if you’re swimming or sweating.

Wear sunglasses or a hat. The sun’s harsh rays can not only affect your skin but also your eyes! According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, overexposure to UV rays (often from the sun) can cause photokeratitis. Like a sunburn on your skin, this painful, temporary eye condition might not be noticed until after the damage has occurred. Symptoms may include eye discomfort, swelling, blurry vision, and sensitivity to light

To avoid short-term symptoms or even long-term damage that can cause eye disease or cancer, purchase sunglasses that provide 100% UV or UV400 protection, or block both UVA and UVB rays. Make a habit of wearing sunglasses when your outside or driving during daylight hours.

A wide-brimmed hat is also a great shield to protect your eyes, and the skin on your face, scalp, ears, and neck from the sun. Consider keeping a spare hat in your car or garage so it is always at your fingertips when you’re heading outside. 

Drink water. Water is crucial to protecting your entire body, especially in hot and humid conditions when you may be overexerting yourself! If you’re dehydrated and experiencing prolonged sun or heat exposure, you could be at risk of heat exhaustion. 

Before you go outside to do yardwork, exercise, play, or hit a local community event, be sure to drink plenty of water. Bring a water bottle to make it easy to keep drinking water during your time outside and be sure to continue hydrating once you’ve returned inside.

Proactive sun protection can help keep you safe and cool in the summer sun. If you’re experiencing a severe sunburn, photokeratitis, dehydration, or heat exhaustion, visit our 24-hour Urgent Care Clinic in West Des Moines. 

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