Individuals Urged to Protect Themselves from Harmful UV Rays
Although temperatures this summer have not been as hot as past years, the sun still poses many risks for individuals spending time outdoors. Faith Community Hospital (FCH) is urging locals to protect themselves from the sun’s heat and ultraviolet rays, preventing heat exhaustion and skin damage.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Despite the facts, there are many precautions individuals can take to protect ourselves from harmful UV rays.
“No matter your age, it’s important that everyone protect their skin from the sun by applying a liberal amount of sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going outdoors,” says Dr. Elva Camero, a family physician in Jacksboro. “It seems like a simple step, but it’s essential to keep your skin looking great while reducing the risk of skin cancer.”
Dr. Camero recommends using sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher.
To further protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays, Dr. Camero says individuals should cover up exposed skin by seeking shade as much as possible during the late mornings and afternoons. People should also wear light-colored cotton clothing. This covers your skin and allows your body to breathe easier. Hats with large brims can also protect your head, ears and neck.
Dr. Camero also advises people to wear sunglasses when outdoors. Lenses that block 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB type rays are recommended. Sunglasses with gray-colored lenses also reduce light intensity and provide a more natural vision.
Long exposure to the sun or extensive activities in the heat can easily lead a person to heat exhaustion. Sweating acts as a coolant system for your body. This system brings your body temperature down, but it also results in the loss of large amounts of body fluids, leading to dehydration. Consuming water or sports drinks can help combat exhaustion and keep your body hydrated.
“Drinking water is ideal for individuals spending small increments of time outdoors,” Dr. Camero explains. “For those who plan on spending longer amounts of time outside in the heat, sports drinks contain ingredients that will both hydrate your body and provide the energy needed to continue your activities.”
It is also recommended that individuals avoid beverages such as soft drinks, coffee and alcohol. These drinks can actually cause your body to excrete extra fluids, causing you to dehydrate at a faster rate.
Dr. Camero encourages people to stay out of the sun and heat as much as possible between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when UV rays and the temperature can do the most damage.
“Taking these small precautions can keep you safe by preventing heat-related injuries this summer,” Dr, Camero says. “We want everyone in Jack County to have fun, but in a safe manner.”