Spending time outside in the summer is a great way to reduce stress, and get vitamin D. We brought in local pharmacist Carissa Faye to talk about sun safety. There's many ways to work and play in the summer heat with out increasing your risk of skin cancer.
"The best thing to do is to avoid the sun between 10am - 4pm. If you are outside, be sure to wear sunscreen often and apply it generously. Wear sunglasses and a hat, and cover up as much as possible. Be aware of some medications that can make you more sensitive to sun light."
Many recent reports state that wearing a higher SPF is of very little benefit, Faye responds "most people don't apply enough sunscreen to get full protection, so I do say the higher the SPF the better." She added that the science is true "an SPF of 15 will block 93% of the sun's rays. SPF30 will block 97% of the sun's rays. So technically the higher the number - the better the protection."
Some information that she provided was great for parents of newborns and infants. "Sunscreen is not recommended for use under 6 months. Use a wide rimmed hat; light, loose clothing and avoid the sun. Older than six months use a mineral sunscreen that contains zinc and titanium because they are less irritating to their sensitive skin."
Extreme heat events are a growing public concern and a major health risk in Canada. In 2010 two hundred and eighty people died in Quebec during a heat wave. Last year 595 people died in BC. Faye added that signs of heat exhaustion include "things like extreme thirst, dizziness & dehydration, confusion, headaches, nausea & vomiting, are some of the more common signs."
We all want to enjoy the summer while we have it here. Some of us are training and exercising outside, while others have to work in the heat all day. Westcentralonline asked Carissa what to do in the event of overexposure to the sun. "You can take a cool bath in the event of sunburn. Not a cold bath. Apply cool or wet compresses to ease the pain. Apply aloe vera gel, but avoid ointments (especially right after the skin is burnt) as they will actually trap the heat and make things worse."
Please contact your local pharmacist if you have any questions as they are the ones that are knowledgeable and they're happy to help. Carissa can be reached during business hours at the Kindersley and District Co-op Pharmacy 306-463-2770.