Getting out in the summer is a treat – kids and adults alike can have fun on the beach, in the yard, at the pool, or in hundreds of outdoor activities perfect for sunshiny weather. Before you head out into the heat, however, make sure that you know how to watch for the danger signs of problems and illnesses that can occur due to too much sun exposure. In general, if you wear sunscreen, drink plenty of fluids, and take breaks from the sun, you should be able to avoid most of these sun-related health problems.
Avoid a Sunburn!
Sunburn occurs when the UV rays from the sun burn the skin – the tan that results from a sunburn is actually your body’s way of protecting itself from future sun damage, but the exposure to the UV rays is unfortunately harmful to the body. Most sunburns are mild, but some can become quite serious and dangerous.
- Symptoms: Reddened skin, skin warm to the touch, blisters, sensitive skin. In severe cases, the person may get chills, feel feverish, or even feel nauseated.
- Treatment: Cool compresses, light clothing, aloe vera gel, moisturizing cream.
- Danger factor: Low to moderate. Most cases of sunburn are light and not a cause for concern. However, if the skin is covered in blisters, or the person has chills or other severe side-effects, it is a good idea to consult with a medical professional. You could have a second or even third degree burn from the sun, which is dangerous, or another problem from sun exposure, such as sun exhaustion.
Heat Cramps: Ouch
Heat cramps are exactly what they sound like. These muscle cramps occur while exercising, working, or playing outside during hot weather, and are caused by electrolyte and mineral deficiencies, which can occur after your body sweats out salt and other vital minerals.
- Symptoms: Muscle cramps in any part of the body after exposure to heat.
- Treatment: Drink plenty of fluids. If you will be outside for extended periods, try an electrolyte supplement drink, such as Gatorade, or another mineral-replenishing drink.
- Danger factor: Usually low. If you feel cramps, try to get to a cooler area as quickly as possible. Can be dangerous in young children and the elderly.
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