July is UV Awareness Month
Each year in July, America observes UV Awareness Month, an awareness campaign that promotes sun safety during the summer months. Over-exposure to sunlight and UV rays can lead to a multitude of health concerns. While it may seem simple enough to put on sunscreen before outdoor activities, there are many other things to consider while keeping yourself protected from UV rays, both in the summer and all year round.
How to Stay Safe In the Sun
One of the cornerstones of sun safety is SPF. Wearing it, reapplying it, and knowing what level of SPF works best for you is vital to ward off sunburn, sun poisoning, and sunstroke. UV rays can damage your skin within 15 minutes if you aren’t protecting yourself correctly. When deciding which sunscreen to use, choose one with at least SPF 30 in it to protect from UVA and UVB rays.
Applying sunscreen to every inch of exposed skin—including your hands and feet— and reapplying every two hours can help ensure your protection throughout the day. One area often overlooked on application is the part in your hair. If you aren’t wearing a hat, using a hair sunscreen spray will keep the top of your head safe from the harsh rays of the sun.
UV light not only damages your skin, but it also damages your eyes when you aren’t protecting them to the best of your ability. Having a pair of protective sunglasses as a staple summer accessory will allow you to shield your eyes even while on the go. UV rays can raise the risk of certain eye diseases and cancers, so it is important to have annual appointments with your eye doctor to ensure your eyes are the healthiest they can be.
How to Stay Hydrated In the Sun
With the days being longer and the chance for physical activity higher, it’s important to stay hydrated as much as possible. Summer leads to more chances to sweat, and when you don’t replace that lost water by drinking, you run the risk of dehydrating. Children and older adults are the most susceptible to dehydration, so knowing the warning signs can help reduce the severity of the onset of dehydration.
Common Symptoms of Dehydration Include:
- Weak muscles
- Dry lips, eyes, and mouth
There are some simple ways to hydrate quickly and efficiently throughout the summer. Mayo Clinic has recommendations for how much water you should drink each day. Start your day off with a glass of water and incorporate water into every meal. Taking a water bottle with you when you are on the go will ensure you drink throughout the day. It is important to drink before you feel thirsty, as thirst is a sign of dehydration.
If you are someone who struggles with drinking enough water in general, there are ways you can incentivize your drinking habits. There are apps that make drinking water into a game and there are water bottles that have motivational sayings on them to boost your morale around drinking water. Finding whatever works for you will help make your summer the healthiest yet.
How to Eat Well In the Sun
Staying healthy in the summertime sun requires a healthy diet at the core of your being. A great benefit to summer living is the number of fresh and enriching foods available to have on your plate. When it is too hot to turn on a stove or grill outside, making meals filled with fresh foods can help bring down the heat. Salads are a great way to bring all of the necessary food groups together without having to cook. Incorporating in-season vegetables can make any salad more exciting.
Seasonal fruits can also make any meal refreshing. Watermelon is a great summer fruit that is also made mostly of water. It’s a great hydrator and snack all in one! Blueberries, cherries, and raspberries are great to incorporate into healthy smoothies or the popular smoothie bowls that can combat the heat while providing some vital vitamins and nutrients for your diet.
UV Awareness month serves as a reminder that while the summer is filled with lots of fun, there are risks to your health that you must tend to. Enjoying the great outdoors with a level of preparation and protection will ensure your summer is the best season of your life.