Prepare for sun safety before the summer months arrive
San Diego: Summer is almost here making it the perfect time to plan ahead for sun safety. Practicing sun safety not only during the summer months but the entire year is critical to skin cancer prevention.
Though sunshine brings health benefits of Vitamin D, there is the need to protect against potential sun damage. Over time, overexposure might lead to skin cancers of various types, depending on genetic composition. Additionally, sun exposure can create wrinkling due to the destruction of the skin’s natural collagen.
How then is it possible to enjoy the great outdoors while protecting from overexposure?
Practicing sun safety
Sun protection, like sunscreen, is necessary year-round. Oceans, lakes, sand, and snow all reflect the sun’s rays helping to increase exposure to the harmful effects of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. During overcast days, ultraviolet rays penetrate even the darkest clouds, belying their potential to create sun damage.
One of the simplest ways of avoiding adverse effects from the sun is to avoid outdoor exposure between the hours of 10 am and 3 pm when the sun is the strongest.
Wear clothing that protects you from the sun rays
Wear protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts, hats, gloves, and sunglasses, to minimize sun exposure, avoiding skin damage.
Applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen is smart, not only for preventing skin cancer but also in regards to anti-aging. A quality sunscreen can help reduce skin wrinkles, unsightly sun spots, and other visible forms of skin damage. It is important to be aware that sunscreen needs to be reapplied every couple of hours and reapplied immediately after swimming.
Keep the environment safe when applying topicals
Travel is resuming and If you are traveling to a tropical location you want to be sure to purchase sunscreen that will not harm tropical waters or the coral reefs.
And don’t forget about sun safety your dog
Dogs are also particularly vulnerable to ultraviolet rays, especially those with white hair, thin skin or short coats. If he has any visible areas of bare skin make sure you have a pet-safe sunscreen. Use sunscreens that are safe for babies and does not contain either zinc oxide or salicylates. Sunscreen’s zinc-oxide is just one ingredient that can be very dangerous if ingested. (Is Sunscreen for Dogs Safe to Use?)
Consult a veterinarian and determine if sunscreen is helpful. Best decisions will depend upon the breed of the dog and if there are any allergies.
Remember also to purchase dog-friendly protective eyewear for any extensive outdoor activities and minimize sun exposure. As with humans, it is possible for dogs to develop cataracts and eye cancers caused by the sun. In addition to sun protection, going for walks, to the beach or park requires you to take fresh water for your dog. Dogs can easily overheat as they do not have very effective methods of shedding heat.
Children, as well as adults, need the benefits provided by overall sun safety protection.
According to the Sun Safety Alliance, skin cancers can be prevented if children and adolescents have the proper protection from UV radiation. Eighty percent of all sun damage and skin cancers that develop later in life are a result of the damage which occurs by the age of 18.
Use sunscreens that offer both UVA and UVB protection and a minimum SPF of 15, if not higher. Remember to cover all areas of the body with sunscreen including hands, arms, legs, face, nose, ears, and lips.
For those who are balding or have thinning hair remember to wear a cap or hat, preferably one which is broad-brimmed. If sunscreen is preferred, use spray or cream on top of the head.
Something to keep in mind is that with the growing popularity of practicing sun safety, what goes inside is as important as outside. Vitamin D is commonly known as the sunshine vitamin since the sun’s rays wash our bodies with this necessary nutrient.
Vitamin D also plays an essential role in stimulating positive genetic activity within the human body
Lacking adequate levels of vitamin D can be anathema to good health. Low Vitamin D levels are a root cause for the development of cancers, depression, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and more.
Talking with a trusted medical professional about adequate vitamin D levels is extremely important in preventing disease. A simple blood test will determine if you need to add vitamin D to your health.
Practicing sun safety during the summer and throughout all the seasons of each year will reduce the potentially harmful effects of sun exposure for all members of the family–including Fido!
Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!
About the Author:
Laurie Edwards-Tate is Communities Digital News senior health and aging specialist covering healthful eating, living, and aging information. Since 1984, Edwards-Tate has served as President and Founder of At Your Home Familycare, a non-medical Home Care Aide Organization, serving seniors, disabled, infirm, and children. Laurie is on the Board of Director 2018 (elected), Palomar Health; Executive Board Member; Chair Board Human Resources Committee; Member of Audits & Compliance Committee; Community Relations Committee.
(Main image: Thanks to Ethan Robertson @ethanrobertson for making this photo available freely on Unsplash 🎁