Summer Sun Safety Tips for Older Adults
Summer is the ideal season to relax, visit with family and enjoy the outdoors. Summer temperatures are perfect for spending time outside, but too much sun increases ultraviolet (UV) light exposure. UV light can be beneficial in modest amounts, but too much of it can cause serious health problems. Older adults especially need to take precaution with sun safety.
Here are six recommended tips to help those who are age 55 and over to protect themselves from harmful UV rays this summer:
1. Always Wear Sunscreen
Everyone should make a habit of applying sunscreen to exposed skin, even when going for a short morning or afternoon walk. This is because exposing your skin to UV light for just a brief amount of time, repeatedly, can cause cumulative health effects.
2. Choose Proper Clothing for Outdoor Activities
Loose, flowing clothing that covers the arms and legs do not only reduce exposure to the sun, but they also help cool the body because they permit air to flow over the skin freely.
3. Wear Wide-Brimmed or Billed Hats
Hats block the sun’s rays and give the eyes added protection. Since hair forms a natural defense against excessive sun exposure, individuals who have experienced hair loss are especially encouraged to wear hats that protect their forehead, ears, neck, and crown.
4. Know Which Times are Associated with Increased UV Exposure
The American Academy of Dermatology reports that the sun’s rays are strongest in North America between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If possible, avoid being outdoors during these hours or stay in a covered or shaded area while outside.
5. Don’t Deliberately Tan
While tanned skin may appear attractive to some people, it is actually a sign of skin damage. Routine or deliberate tanning can cause cumulative health complications.
6. Wear UV-Protected Sunglasses
Continuous UV exposure can also affect vision. Wrap-around style sunglasses that have a 99 or higher UV rating, however, can block 99 to 100% of the sun’s UV rays.
7. Get Suspicious Moles Examined
Make skin checks a part of your monthly routine. If something looks out of the ordinary with your freckles or moles, see a doctor.
Discuss these tips with the Hirsh Health Center doctors at Charles E. Smith Life Communities (CESLC). The Hirsh Health Center is a medical practice that specializes in primary geriatric care. For more information or to make your first appointment call 301.816.5004 or visit www.smithlifecommunities.org.