Pull out that forgotten bathing suit, put on your hiking shoes, or get out the ball and leash; beautiful weather is here to stay this weekend! The sun is shining, and all over Seattle people are coming out of the woodwork to soak up those gorgeous rays of sunshine. Many of us cannot wait to get a golden tan, but linger too long outside without protection and you will be burnt to a crisp.
When your skin is exposed to the sun without protection it can burn, becoming irritated and red. This is due to the ultraviolet rays from the sun, which are not always visible and can penetrate your skin. Beneath the surface, UV rays can alter your DNA, prematurely aging your skin and contributing to skin cancers.
With this in mind, keep your skin safe. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10AM and 4PM, so try not to sit out too long if you decide to pull out the lawn chair during this time and always wear sunscreen. To be the most effective, sunscreen should have a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 and should be applied at least thirty minutes before going outside, even if it is overcast. If you are going swimming, sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours. If you happen to forget sunscreen, provide shade for your skin with the right clothes! Hats, light long-sleeved shirts and pants as well as sunglasses will help protect you from harmful sun damage.
If you do end up with a burn, there are many things to remedy the pain. If your skin feels hot and is red, apply a cold compress to soothe the burn or delicately rub on a cream or gel that contains aloe or menthol for relief. If you are sunburned, you are probably also dehydrated, so be sure to drink ample water to stay hydrated. Most importantly, if you do have a burn, stay out of the sun until your burn heals.
Call for a doctor’s help if you notice any of these more serious sunburn signs:
- Fever of 102 degrees or higher
- Severe pain
- Sunburn blisters that cover 20% or more of your body
- Dry mouth, thirst, reduced urination, dizziness, and fatigue (signs of dehydration)
Enjoy the amazing weather, but be smart. Be sure to take the proper precautions to keep your body safe. Your skin will thank you!