Summertime is officially here! Pools are open, boats are in the lake and people everywhere are having fun in the sun. While summer is a great time of year to be outside, it is also important to remember to wear sunscreen and to keep hydrated. Sometimes picking the right sunscreen can be daunting. There are various types of SPF numbers and ones that say broad spectrum and water proof, etc. What does SPF stand for and mean anyway? SPF stand for sun protection factor and the higher the number the better protection against the suns UV rays.
In most cases one should pick at least a sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher. A sunscreen that is SPF 30 will block 97% of UVA and UVB rays. SPF 50 blocks 98% and SPF 100 blocks 99%. No sunscreen is 100% effective in blocking the sun’s harmful rays. When looking for a sunscreen you also want to make sure you choose one that is broad spectrum. This means that it will protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. The peak hours of the sun are usually from around 10 in the morning to 4 in the evening. During those hours especially, you should make sure to apply sunscreen at least every couple of hours and maybe more if you are in the water. Also during those peak hours, if you can, you should try to stay in the shade or wear a protective hat or clothing.
Staying hydrated is also very important during the hot summer days. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water to keep your body well hydrated. Soda, coffee and tea are not substitutes for water as they contain caffeine and can actually worsen dehydration. Signs of dehydration can include being thirsty, decreased urine output, fatigue, headache, and/or dry mouth. If dehydration gets too severe it can lead to low blood pressure, increased heart rate, seizures or a coma. It is important to seek medical attention if these symptoms occur.
For more questions feel free to ask your physician or pharmacist! Remember to wear your sunscreen, stay hydrated and have some fun this summer!