Summer is right around the corner. As much as we all love the sunshine feeling on our face and body, too much of a good thing can be harmful! It is always important to remember our family’s well-being, take responsibility for our personal safety, and make healthy decisions, even while having a fun time. Here are some short sun safety reminders to make your summer a fun and enjoyable experience for you and your family members!
Plan Your Day Around the Clock
The sun shares its most harmful rays in the middle of the day so plan this time for indoor use. The sun’s rays are most harmful between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM so make outdoor time in the early morning or early evening when it is less intense. This also keeps your food at safer temperatures as well so your ice (or you) won’t melt as fast.
Protect Your Body
One of the easiest defenses against the sun is sometimes one of the most forgotten, sunscreen! Be sure to lather up in sunscreen BEFORE you go outside. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends liberally applying a sunscreen that is at least SPF 30 or higher, as these formulas will block UVA and UVB rays. Be sure to apply at least 30 minutes prior to going outside. Once outside, continue to apply sunscreen every two hours or after swimming. Not sure what kind of sunscreen blocks UVA and UVB rays? Look for a sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher with the ingredients zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as these ingredients will do the job. Remember to coat your ears, neck, tops of feet, etc.
Remember to grab your sunglasses too! Your eyeballs are just as sensitive as your skin so blocking UVA and UBA rays from your eyes are important to. Fashionable sunglasses are great if you are into that but being able to protect your eyes is the goal.
Most everyone enjoys getting outside this time of year to soak up some sunshine and enjoy the beautiful day. In fact, it’s true that some amount of sunlight is healthy for your body and mind. However, as we know all too well sometimes, too much exposure can be detrimental and lead to sunburn, heat exhaustion and more. Thus, it is a good idea to find balance by setting a time limit on sun exposure, if possible. If time slips past you because you and your family are having too much fun, set an alarm as a friendly reminder. Make this your “shade time” for a water break, game of cards, or a brief nap. Be sure to always have an umbrella or tent on hand in case no shade is available.
It is very easy to get dehydrated in the summertime. Drink water throughout the day. Don’t wait until you get hot and thirsty. Drink water to maintain your hydration before it is depleted. This will help avoid those nasty summer headaches and tummy aches. Taking your pet with you? Don’t forget Fido’s water bowl too!
UV Bead Activity
Looking for a really cool lesson to teach your children about the risk factors associated with sun exposure and UV rays? Check out this 4-H activity 4-H + Me = Health: Sun Safety from Minnesota Extension Service’s Exploring Your Body, Helper’s Guide. In this activity, children can make their own beaded bracelets that change colors when exposed to UV light. This is a great way for children to understand UV light, cloud coverage, sunscreen SPFs and more!
4-H has plenty of educational programming, both outdoors and indoors, to keep your children engaged this summer! From gardening to robots, archery to grilling, 4-H has something for everyone. If you are looking for fun, educational activities during the summer while maintaining a safe environment for your child, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office, or visit http://florida4h.org