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Play it Cool - Sun Protection Tips

Family at the beach

As we move into spring and summer and spend more time riding bikes, taking to playgrounds, or relaxing at the beach, it’s important to remember to take care and prepare for a day in the sun.


There are many health benefits associated with catching a few rays. For example, sun exposure helps us produce vitamin D; this is vital for calcium absorption to keep bones strong and healthy. However, like anything, too much of a good thing can sometimes be harmful. Overexposure to the sun without protection can lead to sunburns, dehydration, and more.


Here are a few handy sun protection tips to help you and your family enjoy time outdoors safely this season:


Dress up right.

It’s tempting to wear less when the temperature rises and humidity is high. However, choosing the right clothes to protect you from the heat will make you more comfortable.

  • Reflect the sun with light-colored clothing, and when possible, select natural fibers like cotton and linen; they breathe better than synthetics.

  • Consider clothing specifically designed for sun protection. Even though these clothes are not made from natural fibres, new technology has brought us breathable garments that provide coverage similar to sunblock up to 50 SPF. They are a little pricier, to be sure, but a worthwhile investment in sunny climates.

  • Wear a hat or carry an umbrella. Make sure you have a few extras, too. Keep them in your car, by your back door, or wherever you might easily access them as you get outdoors.

  • Protect your eyes. Sun damage can contribute to vision loss, so be sure to find a pair of sunglasses you love and wear them.

Sunscreen. It’s worth the wrestling match.

If you’ve ever tried to put sunscreen on a child, you know it’s a workout. But it’s worth it. Skin cancer is diagnosed in the U.S. more than all other cancers combined. It’s true that some people have more genetic risk factors than others, but everyone is susceptible. What is most important to know is that, in most cases, it is preventable when you take the proper precautions.


When shopping for sunblock, the higher the SPF, the better. Apply it to the skin 30 minutes before getting out in the sun. And if you plan on being out all day, keep it with you. You’ll want to reapply it every two hours throughout the day. Learn more about sunscreen from the American Academy of Dermatology here.


Bottoms up – drink water!

Be sure to stay hydrated. Take a water bottle with you and drink plenty of water as you navigate your day. And for the grown-ups, try to limit your coffee and alcohol intake; they can accelerate dehydration.


Finally, if you are taking medication or have a chronic illness, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about risk factors specific to you.


Stay safe in the sun this season!


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