How to Avoid Summer Health Hazards
We all know there’s absolutely nothing that compares to a beautiful, warm summer day.
There’s very little that can make one feel more alive than taking a cool dip in a pool or basking in the hot sun to achieve that coveted tinted glow. Tan skin has been equated with health and beauty in America since way before the “Jersey Shore” cast turned it into a cultural phenomenon. However, countless studies have shown time and time again that forgoing sunblock in hopes of scoring the ultimate bronze can do a significant amount of damage to the body in the long run. There are also various other concerns related to too much sun/water exposure such as: ear infections, heat exhaustion and irreparable eye damage. Despite these health hazards, there are many simple ways to stay safe in the sun while still reaping all of its benefits.
Lather it on
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one in five people will develop skin cancer over the course of their lifetime. Skin cancer is caused by a mutation of damaged skin cells, which is often directly due to ultraviolet radiation from sunshine or tanning beds. Many forms of skin cancer can be easily treated; however melanoma — the most dangerous kind — kills a person nearly every hour. These are truly frightening statistics, but are easily avoided by adhering to one simple step: lather up on a high SPF (Sun Protection Factor) before you walk outside. The foundation recommends using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 to ensure full skin protection. Also, make sure to apply at least 1 oz. (a shot glass-full) of sunscreen on your skin 30 minutes before exposure to provide maximum defense against harmful UV rays.
Cover up those baby blues
Though it’s pretty common knowledge that sun can be pretty damaging for your skin, many people are not aware that it can also do just as much — if not worse — harm to your eyes. Too much exposure has been proven to cause eye conditions like cataracts, macular degeneration and even permanent vision loss. In order to fully protect yourself, do yourself a huge favor and purchase a pair of strong, well-fitting (and stylish!) sunglasses. Before you buy, however, make sure the tag guarantees the glasses will block 99-100 percent of the sun’s UV rays. Any less, and they sun will easily penetrate right through the lenses. Remember: Sunglasses aren’t just an accessory.
Human cells are made up of 65 to 90 percent water. We are taught this biological fact when we’re young because water is essential to our livelihood. According to the Mayo Clinic, the amount of water a person should drink daily varies depending on their health, activity level and location, but suggests roughly 13 cups a day for men, and nine for women. This number can be nearly doubled during the dog days of summer, especially when exercising, in order to prevent heat exhaustion. Drinking water also helps flush out harmful toxins, which can cause painful illnesses and infections in the ears and throughout the body.
For more information about what you can do to keep your body healthy during the summer, visit the Skin Cancer Foundation’s website at www.skincancer.org.