Summer is here and it is not forgiving. The heat is unrelenting and just getting through the day can seem impossible sometimes!
Yes, summer has its upsides – trips to the beach, weekends spent in the pool and amazing sunset walks on the promenade, but the heat and the sun can be dangerous.
When venturing out into the sun, we need to ensure we have the necessary protection needed to keep ourselves safe from the sun. Damage to our skin from the sun’s UV rays can be permanent. By following some simple tips, you can avoid the summer exhaustion and protect yourself from the sun.
Tips and tricks to make it through summer
Pick your clothing
Certain clothing and fabric help you stay cooler in summer. Lighter coloured clothing will help you keep cooler than darker dyes. Darker colours absorb more sunlight, which in turn traps the heat and makes you feel warmer. There is a catch though, as darker colours absorb the heat, they are more sun-protective to your skin. This means that you will more than likely tan through lighter coloured clothing than darker colour clothing.
The answer to this is to wear lighter clothing to stay cool, but to apply sunscreen under your clothing to offer extra protection.
When you are out in the sun, do not get your clothes wet. Wet clothing has lesser UPF protection than dry clothes. Check the UPF rating of your clothing to understand how much protection it offers you from the sun. A quick way to check is to hold your clothing up to the sun, however much light shines through is an indication of the UV rays let through to your skin.
Unless you are planning a trip outdoors, try to stay inside on those sweltering hot days. Rather stay indoors with air conditioning and fans, and stay hydrated. Stay indoors especially during the peak hours of sunlight, which can be anywhere between 10 am and 4 pm.
Certain accessories can help keep your skin safe and keep you cool in summer. By wrapping a scarf around your neck you are limiting the skin that is visible to the sun. A wide-brimmed hat will also be your best friend. It will offer protection from the sun to your head, neck, face, and back.
Certain sunglasses also cut out 100% of the suns rays from reaching your eyes. This will help you be more comfortable when the glare is particularly bad.
Don’t overdo the exercise
It is important to remember that your body will most probably be negatively affected if you over-exercise in hot weather. You will end up losing too much water and run the risk of becoming dehydrated. Exercising in the sun also runs the risk of you landing up with heat stroke, which can be a serious condition.
To remedy this, try and exercise early in the morning when it is still cool, or after dark when the sun has retired for the day. If you can, try and do your workouts in the gym as they are usually cooled and have an ample supply of water to keep you hydrated. Swimming is also a great exercise option in summer, especially in an indoor pool.
Avoid winter foods
Sticking to a summer diet can help you feel cooler and healthier. Try and eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and white meat like chicken or fish. Avoid red meats and dry fruits, which can be difficult to digest. Treat yourself to ice cream and lollies, which not only taste great but cool you down as well.
Always wear sunscreen
You need to get into the habit of wearing sunscreen whenever you leave the house. Did you know that you don’t need to be standing under direct sunlight to be burned by the sun? You could be sitting in the shade and still be burned by UV rays reflected off of the sand, concrete or water around you. Tans can even happen through your clothing. By simply applying sunscreen often you will cut down your chances of contracting skin cancer and other damage to your skin.
Your body loses more water in summer than during the other seasons. This is mainly through excess sweat caused by the heat. Always carry extra water around with you. If you don’t usually drink water and aren’t in the habit of doing so, set reminders on your phone to have some. Not having enough water in your system and becoming dehydrated can cause you to feel lethargic and tired. Some glucose in your water can help you perk up a bit, but it isn’t a long-term solution.
As adults, we can feel when our skin is being over-burned by the sun. Children, however, are usually too busy to stop and notice this. There are brands that provide sun-protective clothing for both children and adults, so it is definitely worth buying some items for the family. This in no way means you should not apply sunscreen all over, but the clothes have been made to be SPF30 and above, giving great additional protection from the sun. There are even costumes that can be sun-protective and are still effective when wet.
Don’t underestimate the sun
Many people think that because the sun is hidden behind the clouds, they are safe. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Up to 87% of the sun’s UV rays are let through clouds, fog and mist. You can still be seriously burned through overcast weather, and this is usually when people suffer the worst sunburn as they don’t have any protection on their skin.
Always have some sort of sun-protection on. Whether it be sun-protective clothing, sunscreen, or even better, both. Keep yourself hydrated and eat foods that will help your body deal with the sweltering summer heat. You now have an excuse to stock up on some ice cream and yummy ice lollies!
Summer is beautiful and full of fun, but it can be dangerous if we don’t look after ourselves and our families properly.