For all the enormous, live-sustaining benefits the Sun provides us Earthlings, its powerful rays can also cause harmful side-effects. In humans, these can include: Rapid dehydration, sunburn (and its advanced relative–skin cancer), premature aging of the skin, retinal damage, cataracts, immune system weakening, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
Next time you’re basking in the sun for extended periods, always be mindful of the possible side effects; learn how to substantially reduce your chances of falling victim to sunlight and heat by reading on.
Although it’s practically engrained into our heads (yet it never fails to be 110% true), drink plenty of water and other electrolyte-boosting drinks (e.g. mineral/flavored water) at close, regular intervals and in moderate amounts—do not attempt to chug a gallon of water all at once, in other words.
Stay away from drinks with added-sugar; if hunger appears (which is very likely), consider munching on a vegetable or fruit snack. Vegetables and fruits are up to 90% pure water. And although the daily intake requirements of water for people varies—depending on factors like your level of activity, BMI (body mass index), weather conditions and eating habits—the average person (being moderately active and being exposed to the sun around 20% of the day) needs to consume up to 3 liters daily.
First, let’s clarify the common misconception that they’re the same thing. Sunscreen, like its name suggests, screens out most of the Sun’s harmful rays and boasts an SPF (sun protection factor) of 15 or less. Sunblock (SPF of 30 and up), on the other hand, provides far more robust, longer-lasting protection: Useful especially for folks with very light- to fair-skinned complexions.
Yeah, everyone knows they should use it, yet many either ignore it or neglect to use an effective strength. Keeping the aforementioned about SPFs in mind:
Didn’t know there was so much to sunblock, did ya?
While keeping the body hydrated and the skin protected with sunblock/sunscreen is great (and extremely important), what you wear completes the equation.
The fourth method—and this may be the most important of all—is being vigilant of the signs of heat exhaustion or, worse yet, heat stroke. Good indicators of the former include sudden, heat-related cramps, profuse sweating, dark urine, nausea. The signs for heat stroke are ramped-up a bit: feeling faint, becoming heavily disoriented, seizing and/or reaching a body temperature above 102 F.
In the event you or another person begins to experience any of these, take precautions—find shade and/or a fan, lie down in the shade with the head propped up, hydrate, wet the upper-body down with cool water and so forth—and never second-guess yourself about seeking emergency medical services.
Now you’re ready to go have some fun and frolic in the sun!