The weather is finally warming up. You’ve taken off all of your layers, hats, scarves and gloves. Now, you and your family are ready to enjoy the warm sun. But, have you thought about what it takes to stay safe from the hot sun during the summer months.
Did you know that in 244 people died in the U.S. from exposure to excessive heat, according to Injury Facts 2017? That might seem like a small number but keep in mind these fatalities could have been avoided with some simple precautions.
Drinking lots of water and wearing sunscreen isn’t enough!
UV index and why it matters
The ultraviolet light (UV) index, which ranges from 0 to 20, measures the distance of the sun to the earth’s surface. A higher index number means that the sun is closer and, as a result, is more damaging to the skin. The National Weather Service says to protect yourself and your family from the sun you should:
- wear protective clothing,
- use a sunscreen with a 15 SPF or higher and
- stay out of the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In addition to harming the skin, UV rays can damage eyesight and cause cataracts. Wear UV sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV rays. And, if you have small children don’t forget to have them wear sunglasses too!
According to the National Safety Council there are several heat-related illnesses, including heatstroke (the most severe), heat exhaustion and heat cramps. Those most at risk include:
- Infants and young children
- Elderly people
- Individuals with heart or circulatory problems or other long-term illness
- People who work outdoors
- Athletes and people who like to exercise – especially beginners
- Individuals taking medications that alter sweat production
It’s great to be able to head out to enjoy a day at the beach, the park or to take a hike. But, don’t let a hot summer make you ill. Take the necessary precautions so that you can enjoy the entire summer.