Protecting Yourself from the Summer Heat
The summer of 2018 has been one of the warmest for Ireland (don't worry we're not complaining). Temperatures have been guaranteed to pick up again next week, staying within the 20's. With the joy of the sun comes a vital necessity to protect ourselves from it's UV rays, so here are a few tips to remaining safe in the sun whilst enjoying every moment of it.
A basic tip to surviving the sun’s UV rays and escaping from certain cremation would be to apply sunscreen- and lots of it! It is advised that you apply one with a minimum of SPF 15. SPF 30 is adequate enough for most people as it blocks out 97% of UV rays, however if you can’t adequately apply it then a higher SPF is advised. If it's too late for you and you're enduring that unflattering pink burn, you can treat it by putting a cold, damp towel on your skin for 15 minutes and using a moisturiser that contains aloe vera or soy to soothe it. Coconut oil works just as well! Avoid creams and lotions that have petroleum, benzocaine, or lidocaine as they trap heat and bother your skin.
Wear UV sunglasses
Our skin isn’t the only thing we need to look out for in the heat blast, especially with the strong UV rays shining down on us. Eye protection matters during summer as HEV radiation penetrates into the eye and can cause retinal damage (not that interesting we know, but it matters). Kids need UV protection more than adults as the risk of damage is culminated throughout our lives, meaning it grows as we spend time in the sun. Children also have clearer lenses in their eyes which enables more UV to penetrate deep inside so getting UV sunglasses is essential.
The sun is both our friend and foe and as such we tend to spend more time than we should basking in its warmth. Peak hours are strongest from 10am to 4pm so limiting exposure during these times is advised (of course if you're in an office job like us, this is protection in itself). Short-term effects of exposure to the sun are freckles, suntan, sunburn and other discolorations of the skin. Long-term effect are premature skin aging, wrinkles and different types of skin cancer. More than 90% of skin cancer cases are caused by sun exposure. Enjoying the summer sun is great but remember that everything is best in moderation.
Wide brimmed hats
The human scalp is more prone to skin cancer due to the fact there is less fat present. Whilst wearing a wide brimmed hat will protect your head, it will also protect your face, neck and ears as well. Using sunscreen will also work, however having it in your hair isn’t the most appealing thing.
Dehydration during the summer months is common becasuse most people forget to drink water, favouring fizzy drinks instead or dare we say, a few 'social ones' in the local beer gareden. As temperatures rise, we sweat more and as such use up more fluid in our bodies. It is recommended that we drink 8 – 10 glasses of water, with 12- 15 glasses of fluid in total during the day.
Sunstroke is caused when your body overheats which is mainly due to overexposure to the sun. It can also be caused by strenuous activity. Heatstroke can be brought on by wearing excess clothing, drinking alcohol, or becoming dehydrated. It is also classified as an emergency situation and anyone experiencing symptoms should either contact emergency services or visit their GP. Heatstroke symptoms include a high body temperature (core of 40°C or higher), altered mental state or behaviour (confusion, agitation, slurred speech, irritability…..), alteration in sweating (skin feeling hot and dry to the touch), nausea and vomiting, flushed skin, rapid breathing, racing heart rate and a headache.
Now this 'fun fact' is our favourite. Phytochemicals are compounds which are found in plants. They are shown to protect skin longer during sun exposure. Basically, this means that a diet with red fruits and vegetables can actually prevent you from getting too burnt. Citrus fruit, carrots, strawberries, pomegranates, red grapes and tomatoes are some of the various foods that boost our skin’s natural sun protection.
So we hope you can take a few tips out of this to keep you and yours safe this Summer. Remember that however you spend the summer - be happy, be safe and be healthy. This Summer will be one to remember!