How to COOL DOWN in the summer HEAT WAVE
Who doesn’t love the summer’s weather forecast? Feeling the warmth of the sun, feeling the grass or sand on bare feet and enjoying the nice summer breeze. But sometimes, when you’re out getting that sun-kissed glow, you feel hot, sweaty and sticky, which can also come with some negative health effects. But, not to worry, keep reading to find out how to feel your best in the summer heat because Summer 2018 isn’t over!
Health Effects of UV Light
As much as we love the sun, too much of it can be harmful. The sun radiates UV light, or ultraviolet light, which penetrates our skin. While some sun exposure is good because it allows us to synthesize, or create, Vitamin D, too much can leave our skin cells damaged. Some of these harmful UV rays are absorbed by the top layer of our skin (the epidermis), and some penetrate further and reach a deeper layer of our skin (the dermis). So, while some time in the sun is good for your body, an excessive amount of unprotected time in the sun can leave you at risk for some of the harmful effects of UV light such as:
Sunburn occurs when your skin becomes red, painful and hot to the touch, as a result of overexposure to those harmful UV light rays we talked about. Some other symptoms include: itching, skin peeling, small sunburn blisters, headache, fever and nausea. No one likes pain, and your cells definitely don’t appreciate being damaged either. That said, PREVENTION is key! After all, the National Institute of Health (NIH) says that >5 sunburns can double your risk of cancer! Scary! So, keep reading to find out how to prevent needing sunburn treatment.
But, if you already spent a little too much time in the sun and asking, how to treat sunburn? Well, there are a variety of sunburn remedies. Some home remedies for sunburn include rest, hydration and aloe vera gel. But, the BEST sunburn relief is to get out of the sun!
Skin cancer is the abnormal growth of skin cells. This abnormal growth is caused by something that alters the cell’s instructions on how to function. These “something”s are called carcinogens and UV light is one of them. The two types of skin cancer that develop on frequently sun-exposed skin are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Sadly, skin cancer is not rare, it affects a million Americans annually.
Luckily, there are easy and simple ways to limit UV light exposure to reduce the chance of having skin cancer (see my list at the bottom!). While skin cancer treatment varies widely, some common treatments include: freezing, surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Okay, so you might be thinking, “But I’m fine Maya. I wear sunscreen, and I even reapply.” Which is awesome, don’t get me wrong; but being outside in the heat and sun can have some other not-so-fun effects if you’re not careful.
Health Effects of Heat and Sun Exposure
While sunscreen does an amazing job at protecting your skin from the harmful UV light (especially if you wear SPF 15 or more), it doesn’t prevent some of the other effects the sun can have. When we are outside and the sun is beating down on us AND the temperature is really high, you will sweat. You may not notice it at first, but it is true. Our body normally sweats to help maintain our body temperature. When we sweat we lose water, and water is precious to the body. It keeps the concentrations of important substances constant, helps maintain blood pressure and allows our cells to do their jobs. When we sweat we also lose important substances like sodium and electrolytes which our cells need to function. That said, spending too much time in the sun and heat can leave you at risk for:
Dehydration happens when your body is using or losing more fluids (mostly water) than is replaced. This can be a huge risk when you’re sweating a lot or having so much fun that you forget to stay hydrated! Common signs of dehydration include extreme thirst, dry mouth and fatigue. Other dehydration symptoms include dizziness, dark colored urine and confusion. And of course, there’s the dehydration headache. Luckily, the best way to treat hydration is simple: FLUIDS! But, really, you don’t want to be dehydrated in the first place so make sure you’re drinking water and keep reading for some more useful tips (like NoMo Nausea bands)!
Heat exhaustion is an illness that occurs due to overexposure to high temperatures. It is almost always accompanied by what we just discussed: dehydration. Other heat exhaustion symptoms include heavy sweating, dizziness, nausea and headaches. These heat exhaustion signs occur because your body is unable to cool itself in the extreme heat. The best way to avoid heat exhaustion is to avoid being out in high temperatures for extended periods of time and following the tips below. However, if you find yourself or someone you know experiencing heat exhaustion it is important to get them out of the heat as soon as possible because heat exhaustion can be very dangerous as it can lead to heat stroke.
Heat stroke follows heat exhaustion and requires emergency treatment. Therefore, it is very important to be aware of heat stroke symptoms, especially in the summer months. Signs of heat stroke include: high body temperature, rapid breathing, nausea/vomiting, headache and flushed skin. It is vital that anyone who is suffering heatstroke receive medical attention. But, like all the other illnesses, hopefully you will take preventative actions to make sure none of these happen to you!
So, while these consequences can be severe, there are EASY ways to avoid them! Follow these guidelines to keep cool and healthy while out in the sun.
How to COOL DOWN
- Wear SUNSCREEN!
- Sunscreen helps block those harmful UV rays and prevents sunburn and skin cancer. Make sure to wear SPF 15 or greater to get the best protection!
- Wear hats or clothes that have sun protection.
- Many places sell shirts and hats that also have SPF or UPF ratings to keep your beautiful skin protected from the damaging UV light.
- Stay out of the sun during peak hours.
- Between 11am and 3pm the sun’s harmful rays are the strongest, so stay in the shade or head inside and grab a break.
- Use ALOE VERA!
- Aloe Vera gel is a GREAT moisturizer.
- Its nutritional and healing properties provide make it perfect for sunburn relief. Its cooling action provides relief instantly and it continues working to mousterize your skin hours later.
- Use an After Sun Lotion
- I use “Banana Boat Moisturizing Aloe After Sun Lotion”. I L-O-V-E this product because it’s not sticky like Aloe Vera gel can sometimes be, it’s not oily AND it extends my tan (bonus points to Banana Boat!).
- After Sun Lotions are great for replenishing your skin with the nutrients it lost in the sun and moisturizing any dry or chapped skin.
- HYDRATE with refreshing cold water.
- Hydro Flask water bottles actually keep your water cold, and they come in so many sizes and colors! Bring it to the gym, beach, pool, on the trail, or on the boat, with its double wall technology your water will be cold, dawn until dusk.
- HydraTrak water bottles are also awesome. You keep track of how many times you’ve filled up your bottle with colored bands on the bottle! Now that’s innovative and aesthetic.
- Set REMINDERS!
- Set reminders on your phone to reapply sunscreen, drink water etc.
- Bring a NoMo Nausea Band and/or NoMo Migraine Band!
- Although with these tips we hope you won’t get nauseous or have headaches on your next outdoor summer adventure, but it’s always good to be prepared!
- NoMo Nausea Bands are a silicone wristband that combines acupressure and aromatherapy to relieve nausea in SECONDS! They are 100 % natural and 100% waterproof. Plus, they easily fit in your pocket or beach bag.
- NoMo Migraine Bands are similar to NoMo Nausea Bands but they relieve headaches in just a few minutes! Best of all, they are found in the same places. Head on over to NoMoNausea.com for more information, or check us out at Amazon.com, Bed Bath & Beyond, and CVS.
Like I said, Summer 2018 isn’t over! Make the most out of your time in the sun by following these tips. So, don’t forget your sunscreen, hat, water bottle and NoMo band on your next outdoor adventure!