Friday, November 22, 2013

How to enjoy and be safe in sun

It feels great to be outside in a nice sunny day with our loved ones. We all love to enjoy the sun and spend some quality time outside. Many of us have outdoor work as well. But sun fun is not always safe as it has harmful ultraviolet rays. Prolonged sun exposure can cause health hazards including sunburn, skin cancer (melanoma), eye irritation, premature ageing, immune suppression etc. Whether we are working, playing or exercising in sun, we must consider protecting ourselves from the harmful ultraviolet radiation.

So we need a good barrier against sun while doing outdoor activities, be it sport, work or relaxing on beaches, hiking or surfing. Summertime is especially important. There are also many good quality products available to protect you and your family from the sun. One may find the following points useful to be safe in sun:-

  • Try to avoid midday sun (11 a.m. - 4 p.m.) as the rays are strongest during these hours. So limit exposure to midday sun.

  • Always consult your local weather update and when the UV index is 3 or higher always use sun protection.

  • Use sun protecting clothing to cover most of your body parts.

  • Use long pants and shirts with long sleeves and collars.

  • Use closely weaved light weight material (UPF of 50+).

  • Dark colors are preferable (absorbs more UV).

  • Use loose-fitting clothes (give cooler feelings).

  • Apply SPF30 or higher sunscreen in the uncovered area.

  • Use only broad spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen 20 minutes before going out in the sun and 20 minutes after going out. Then onward reapply in every 2 hours for better protection.

  • Never rely on sunscreen alone. Try to cover as much as possible with clothing.

  • Apply generously (3 ml for arm/ face/ neck and 6 ml for leg / body front/ back i.e. approximately 35 ml for full body).

  • Always check the expiry date and store below 30ÂșC.

  • Remember that sunscreens are generally not allergic.

  • Never use sunscreen on babies (aged 6 months or less).

  • Wear a wide brimmed (7.5 cm or higher) hat to protect your head, face, ears and neck region from direct sun.

  • Use a bucket hat with deep crown & angled brim of 6 cm.

  • Use legionnaire hat with a flap covering your neck.

  • Use a brim attachment while wearing helmets.

  • Whenever possible seek for sheds in sunny condition.

  • Built sheds offer predictable and reliable protection (should block over 94% of direct UV and reduce indirect UV).

  • Proper natural sheds are also fine (environmentally friendly and adds aesthetic pleasure).

  • Use of good quality umbrella is a very good option.

  • No shed is 100% effective.

  • Wear sunglasses that provide 100% UVA and UVB protection and wrap around the face i.e. close fitting.

  • Ensure the sunglasses is suitable for driving.

  • Use of polarized sunglasses is more advisable as they reduce glare for comfortable viewing in sunny days.

  • Do not wear the sunglasses in night/reduced light environment.

  • Remember to protect yourself from UV radiation throughout the year and not only in summer. Certain medication may make your skin more sensitive to UV radiation.

  • UV radiation gets reflected off snow, water, sand and concrete. So protect yourself on cloudy days, during swimming or skiing.

  • Tanning equipment should be avoided as they can damage your skin. Use tanning solutions as an alternative.

Following the above points will help to protect you and your family from the sun. These will minimize ageing & wrinkling of your skin, eye damage, tanning, sunburn and skin cancer risk. So be safe in sun and enjoy life.

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