Sun Safety

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Building safe sun habits into your daily routine is easier than you think. Simple and effective protection practices are:

Dress appropriately, wear long sleeve shirt, pants, hat, sunglasses and sunscreen Avoid being in the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., when the sun’s ultraviolet rays are the strongest. Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or greater on all exposed skin. Use sunscreen that protects for UVA and UVB. Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going outside. Reapply sunscreen after swimming, perspiring heavily, or drying skin with a towel.


Sunburn should be avoided because it damages the skin. Although the discomfort is usually minor and healing often occurs in about a week, more severe sunburn may require medical attention.

Recognizing Sunburn. Symptoms of sunburn are well known: skin becomes red, painful, and abnormally warm after the sun exposure.

What to do. Consult a doctor if the sunburn affects an infant younger than 1 year of age or if these symptoms are present:

  • Fever
  • Fluid-filled blisters
  • Severe pain
  • Also, remember these tips when treating sunburn:
  • Avoid repeated sun exposure.
  • Apply cold compresses of immerse the sunburned area in cool water.
  • Apply moisturizing lotion to affected areas. Do not use salve, butter, or ointment.
  • Do not break blisters.

Heat Waves

Summer heat waves bring unusually high temperatures that may last for days or weeks. This weather can make us tired and uncomfortable, even sick. People suffer heat-related illness when the body’s temperature control system is overloaded. The body normally cools itself by sweating. Under some conditions, sweating isn’t enough. In such cases, a person’s body temperature rises rapidly. Very high body temperatures may damage the brain or other vital organs.

Summertime activity must be balanced with measures that aid the body’s cooling mechanisms and prevent heat-related illness.

Heat stroke

Heat Stroke may develop without warning. It can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not given. Warning signs of heat stroke may include an extremely high body temperature (above 103� F, orally); red, hot and dry skin; rapid, strong pulse, throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, unconsciousness.

If you see any of these signs call 911 for medical help. Begin to cool the victim: wrap the victim in wet sheets and immerse in a cool stream or a bathtub of cool water; get victim to a shady area; monitor body temperature; do not give the victim alcohol or drink.

Heat exhaustion

Heat exhaustion occurs when the heart and circulatory system cannot manage the heat. Too much fluid and salt loss can lead to symptoms of shock. Major signs of heat exhaustion are weakness; heavy sweating; cold, pale, clammy skin; muscle cramps; and fainting.

If heat exhaustion occurs, move into a cool area and lie flat with the head a little lower than the rest of the body. To replace the fluids and salt, the person should sip slightly salted beverages such as tomato juice or cool bouillon.

Safety Tips to Avoid Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Replace salt and minerals.
  • Wear appropriate clothing and sunscreen.
  • Pace yourself. Stay cool indoors.
  • Schedule outdoor activities carefully.
  • Use a buddy system.
  • Monitor those at high risk.
  • Adjust to the environment. Use common sense.

Heat Cramps

Heat cramps usually affect people who sweat a lot during strenuous activity.  This sweating depletes the body’s salt and moisture.   The low salt level in the muscles causes painful cramps.  Heat cramps may also be a symptom of heat exhaustion.

Recognizing Heat Cramps.  Heat cramps are muscle pains or spasms – usually in the abdomen, arms, or legs – that may occur in association with strenuous activity. If you have heart problems or are in a low-sodium diet, get medical attention for heat cramps.

What to do. If medical attention is not necessary, take these steps:

  • Stop all activity, and sit quietly in a cool place.
  • Drink clear juice or sports beverage
  • Do not return to strenuous activity for a few hours after the cramps subside, because further exertion may lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
  • Seek medical attention for heat cramps if they do not subside in 1 hour.

Heat Rash

Heat rash is a skin irritation caused by excessive sweating during hot, humid weather. It can occur at any age but is most common in young children.

Recognizing Heat Rash. Heat Rash looks like a red cluster of pimples or small blisters. It is more likely to occur on the neck and upper chest, in the groin, under the breast, and in elbow creases.

What to do. The best treatment for heat rash is to provide a cooler, less humid environment. Keep the affected area dry. Dusting powder may be used to increase comfort, but avoid using ointment or creams- they keep the skin warm and moist and may make the condition worse.

Treating heat rash is simple and usually does not require medical assistance. Other heat- related problems can be much more severe.