Sun protection important during summer

NANAIMO - Excessive sun exposure can damage skin but people can take measures to be safe this summer.

Summer is finally here for Vancouver Island, and with temperatures predicted to rise, the Vancouver Island Health Authority would like to remind people about some important sun and heat safety tips.

Excessive exposure to the sun can cause serious illness such as sun stroke and heat exhaustion.

The sun’s rays can also damage skin, particularly over years of exposure.

Here are some tips so everyone can enjoy the sun safely:

Seek shade and keep skin covered as much as possible when spending time in the sun. The sun can burn and damage skin even on a cloudy day.

Wear a hat with a wide brim.

Children are more vulnerable to sun damage and heatstroke, so ensure their skin is protected or in the shade. Infants less than six months should wear a UVA/UVB protective suit if spending time outdoors.

Apply sunscreen early and often with a minimum Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 to exposed skin at least 15-30 minutes prior to going out. Use it liberally and make sure to reapply often throughout the day, especially following swimming or heavy perspiration.

Wear sunglasses, especially when driving or cycling. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation can cause cataracts and other eye diseases.

Avoid strenuous outdoor activities during peak hours of sun (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

Drink plenty of fluids, but avoid alcohol and caffeine as they can be dehydrating.

Keep your body cool – dress in light- weight and loose-fitting clothing that covers most of your body.

Never leave children in a car unattended – vehicles sitting in the heat can reach temperatures that can be fatal within just a few minutes.

For more information, please visit www.viha.ca.