It’s no secret that Atlanta summers can be brutal. The heat and sunlight can get very intense – not to mention the humidity. The intensity of Atlanta summers makes sun safety (and severe weather safety) super important. Since summer is right around the corner, now seems to be an appropriate time to review sun safety. In between all of the picnics, barbeques (grill safety is also important, by the way), swimming excursions, and sports events, don’t forget to take the time to protect your family from the sun. Check out the following tips.
7 sun safety tips
1. Try to prevent sunburns.
This one is super important.
Sunburns and too much time in the sun can increase your chances of getting skin cancer (which is actually the most common type of cancer in the US.) Skin cancer can be serious. According to the CDC, the sun’s ultraviolet rays can cause damage to your skin in fifteen minutes.
So, do yourself a favor – prevent your skin from turning a shade of lobster red by staying in the shade, staying indoors, or putting on a lot of sunscreen. Beat the Georgia heat and protect your skin from ouch-worthy sunburns.
2. Apply sunscreen. A lot.
Make sure that you and your kids slather on the sunscreen. Sunscreen is kind of like an invisible sun shield – it will either absorb the sunlight or bounce it off your skin to protect you from ultraviolet (UV) rays, so it’s a sun safety must. Adults should use at least SPF 15 (sun protection factor) and children should have sunscreen of at least SPF 30.
Now, here’s the trick to sunscreen success:
You have to keep applying it throughout the day. This is especially important if you’re swimming or sweating. It will wash off. So, make sure to wrangle the kids and ply them with sunscreen, even if they wiggle and giggle. Put on sunscreen wherever your skin is exposed to the sun. Reapply every two hours or after swimming, seating, or toweling off.
Oh, and be mindful of the expiration date. Sunscreen doesn’t last forever, and it lasts for less time if it’s exposed to high temperatures.
3. Stay inside from about 10 am – 4 pm.
The sun is particularly strong in the middle of the day. If you’re planning to be outside, try to arrange your schedule so you’re outside in the morning or evening when the sun isn’t quite as powerful.
And at any rate, it’s Georgia during the summer. Embrace the air-conditioning and stay comfortable. The middle of the day is an ideal time for inside chores, anyways. Take a break and have the kids play inside for a little while. Sun safety can be fun!
4. Dress appropriately.
No, that doesn’t mean shorts and a T-shirt, tempting as that is in the heat. If possible, wear lightweight, loose, long-sleeved clothes made with a tight weave to cover your skin. Top off your outfit with a wide-brimmed hat, which will protect your hand, face, and neck. Pick a hat that’s made of a tight weave, too, to really block out those UV rays. If you’re at the pool or beach, at least throw on a cover-up or a T-shirt for some extra protection.
Now – keep in mind that this is not a substitute for sunscreen. You still need that.
5. Be aware if you’re at a higher risk.
Anyone can get skin cancer, but there are some people who may be more susceptible to it and who need to take extra care to protect themselves from the sun.
- People with light hair, light eyes, pale skin, and freckles
- People who simply burn easily whose skin doesn’t tan
- People with lots of beauty marks or moles
- People who are on medication that could make them more sensitive to the sun
6. Keep an eye on any suspicious moles.
It’s not a bad idea to see a dermatologist if you notice any moles that look strange. If you have any new moles or any moles that have started to look different, you may want to get them checked out.
7. Don’t go tanning.
Tanning beds can be very bad for your skin. In fact, it can be just as harmful as going out into the sun. Indoor tanning exposes the person to high levels of UV rays (which are known to cause cancer.) Besides, tanning beds can spread icky germs and cause skin infections.
Summer is prime time for outdoor fun and games, but don’t forget to follow sun safety practices. Apply and reapply sunscreen. Wear long-sleeved, tightly-woven clothing to cover your skin. Chill out inside during the middle of the day when the sun is strong. Don’t underestimate how dangerous the sun can be and take steps to stay safe.
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