Lifestyle July 5, 2023

Sun Safety – Be Cool…

Summer is here, and whether you hear the golf course calling your name or plan to lose yourself for a day of strolling through a park or tending to your garden, take the time to prepare for a day in the sun.

While the vitamin D we produce from exposure to the sun does our body and mind a world of good, especially when it comes to calcium absorption for bone health, too much sun without the proper protection can have detrimental effects on our health – even more so for seniors. As we age, some of the mechanisms that protect our bodies from heat don’t work as well as they used to. For example, some people become less aware of their thirst and dehydration sets in before they know it. Some people perspire less than they used to, reducing their ability to cool their bodies naturally.

Here are a few of the tips to follow to stay safe in the summer sun:

Dress for success

With the high heat and humidity, it’s tempting to get out the door in the bare minimum just to stay cool. However, covering up can be a smarter choice, as counterintuitive as it sounds.

  • Choose light-colored clothing to reflect the sun. Natural fibers like cotton and linen are your best bet; they breathe better than synthetics. That said, clothing designed especially for sun protection offers both the breathability and the coverage of sunblock, similar to that of up to 50 SPF in some cases. These items can be a little pricier but are well worth the investment in a climate like Florida.
  • Cover your head. Shop for a hat you love, or carry a compact umbrella. Consider storing a few all over for convenience; in your car, by your patio chair, and beside the front door for easy access when you head out for a walk.
  • Don’t forget the sunglasses. Sun damage to the eyes can expedite vision loss, and this happens more rapidly for those advanced in age.

Sunscreen. Don’t leave home without it.

Did you know? More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined. While some have higher genetic risk factors than others, we are all susceptible. The good news is that, in most cases, it is preventable.

Shop for a good quality sunblock; the higher the SPF, the better. Apply it 30 minutes before heading out into the sun for the best protection – this is another item you’ll want to keep handy. If you plan to be outside for a full day, be sure to reapply the sunblock at least every two hours.

Know your medications.

Some medications can impact your sensitivity to heat. Talk to your doctor and heed their warning to stay out of the sun or take extra precautions. You may be at higher risk for dehydration and heat stroke.

Plus, some medications become less effective when stored at warmer temperatures. Ask your pharmacist for the best way to store your medication. A move from the medicine cabinet to the refrigerator may be in order.

Stay hydrated!

Drink plenty of water throughout the day and limit your consumption of coffee and alcohol; they can accelerate dehydration.

Talk to your doctor about the risk factors specific to you. Be safe, and enjoy the summer with care!

Looking for a physician? At ClareMedica Health Partners, it’s our mission to help our patients live happier, healthier lives.
Click here to Find a ClareMedica location near you.

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