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Sun and Heat Protection 101

Summer is just around the bend!

When the weather is hot, your body sweats to keep you cool. As your perspiration evaporates from your skin, you begin to feel cooler. But when it’s humid, it’s harder for sweat to evaporate because the air around you is already saturated with moisture. That’s why people say it’s not the heat, it's the humidity that makes it unbearable to be outside on a hot day.

The sun’s UV rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes. You can reduce your risk of skin damage and skin cancer by seeking shade from the sun. Your best bet to protect your skin is to use sunscreen or wear protective clothing when you’re outside, even when you’re in the shade. Check the EPA’s UV Index to stay informed of the level of UV exposure for your area.

In 1981, Australia began a campaign to educate its citizens with 3 easy ways of protecting against skin cancer: Slip Slop Slap. Slip on a shirt, Slop on sunscreen, and Slap on a hat. Seek and Slide were added in 2001: Seek shade and Slide on wrap-around sunglasses. In the time since the Slip Slop Slap Seek Slide campaign was introduced, the incidence of the two most common forms of skin cancer (basal-cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma) in Australia has decreased. Good on ya, mates!

Heat exhaustion develops when your body overheats. Some of the signs of heat exhaustion are dizziness, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, heavy sweating, and headaches. To treat heat exhaustion, it’s important to move to a cool location, drink lots of water, and soak in a cool bath or use cool compresses.

Going about your daily activities in the heat and bright sun needn't be a dealbreaker. Take a few precautionary steps such as put on loose-fitting, long-sleeved, light-colored shirts and long pants, doff a wide-brimmed hat, wear wrap-around sunglasses that block UV rays from sneaking in from the side of your face, put a high-SPF sunscreen on all exposed skin and reapply at least every 2 hours, and don't forget to keep drinking water or a sport-drink with electrolytes. Easy-peasy! Now go out and enjoy the summer!

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