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The Green Scene “July 2013”

Safe in the Sun

SunSafety-385x316Although we have gone through a series of days this summer with more rain than sunshine, it is important that we protect our skin while spending time in the sun.  The sun can also cause sun-stroke while spending time outside in sunny Florida.
 You don’t have to get to the point of sunburn to have the UV rays hurt your skin – they can cause damage in as little as 15 minutes.  It does not even have to be a sunny day for you to be exposed to UV rays.  Follow these UF/IFAS suggestions for UF protection:

  • Use sunscreen with a sun protective factor (SPF) of 15 or greater and that has both UVA and UVB protection.  Check the expiration date and honor it.  Apply 30 minutes before going outside and reapply very two hours and after swimming or heavy sweating. 
  • Some cosmetics now use some sunscreen compounds.  If a product does not have at least SPF 15, also apply a regular sunscreen. 
  • Cover exposed skins with clothing.  Sounds like an unlikely suggestion in Florida temperatures but consider loose-fitting long pants and long-sleeve shirts.  If wearing a T-shirt or cover-up, be sure to still use sunscreen.
  • Wear a hat.  Hat brims cover the face, ears and back of your neck.  Choose a hat with no holes to help to protect your scalp.  Yes, UV rays can penetrate through hair….many skin cancers result on the scalp from overexposure.
  • Wear sunglasses to reduce the risk of cataracts and to protect the sensitive skin around your eyes.  Choose sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays. 
  • If possible, stay out of the sun during the times of greatest risk for UV exposure, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. 
  • Keep babies younger than one year old out of the sun.  If you cannot find shade, apply sunscreen to any exposed places such as the face and the back of hands.  Dress them in lightweight clothing that covers their bodies, including hats.
Stay cool.  Even a native Floridian can become overheated if the conditions are right which can quickly develop into heat-related illness if you don’t pay attention.
  • Drink water, even if you do not feel thirsty.  Your body needs water to cool off.
  • Avoid alcohol – it dehydrates you.
  • No air conditioning in your home?  Why not go to a movie, walk in a mall, or read in the public library? 
Be aware of your body in the heat and watch for heavy sweating, confusion, dizziness, weakness and nausea—all symptoms of heat exhaustion. 
Many Wakulla County families spend hours at the ball fields.  Protect players and spectators through proper hydration and sunscreen to keep everyone’s body and your skin healthy and cool.

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