The Back-to-School sales are on, but the calendar says August, which means the hottest days of summer are still upon us. For several weeks now we have seen the thermometers registering over 100 degrees across a lot of the country, causing wildfires in the west and heavy, humid air in the east. Everywhere, beaches and pools are full.
It’s important to keep in mind some essential health and well-being tips for the hot weather:
- Water: It’s the essence of life, so make sure you drink enough of it. Carry a refillable water bottle with you wherever you go. Keep as hydrated as possible.
- Sunscreen: Wear a broad spectrum suncreen preferably over 40 SPF, and be vigilant about applying it even if you will be in the water. The sun reflects off the bottom of many pools and sun protection wears off. The risk of skin cancer is highest in areas of greatest exposure (head, face, hands) and areas most difficult to reach with sunscreen application—back of neck, legs.
- Getting Dressed: Wear garments of thin, light fabric covering your arms and chest. There are so many great new performance materials on the market that absorb and wick away moisture, shade your skin, and protect you from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
- Accessories: Wear a had to shade and protect your scalp and face from excess sun and keep yourself cool (the wider the brim the better), and sunglasses to prevent eye damage and to keep the tender skin around your eyes from wrinkling.
- Exercise early or late: It’s best to restrict strenuous activity to the early hours of 6-9 a.m. or to the later hours of 6-9 p.m. Temperatures are often the lowest when the sun isn’t high in the sky. But wear insect repellent in the evenings, since that’s when mosquitoes are most active.
- Use the Buddy System: Take some company along when you are outside exercising or walking. You can look out for each other and have a more enjoyable time!
Note: Vitamin D, produced in the skin in response to sunlight, helps our bodies absorb calcium, important for bone health. Being outside during the day is a great way to get Vitamin D. However, if you are trying to avoid the sun’s harmful rays, you might want to consider Vitamin D supplements. Talk to your doctor first to see if you need them. Taking unnecessary supplements can be dangerous (not to mention a waste of money.) Many of us get enough Vitamin D even when wearing sunscreen.
- – E.C.T.