Spring has arrived on the Alabama Gulf Coast, which means most of us are making our way out of winter hibernation. We’re looking forward to days filled with fun in the sun and visits to the beach (or if you’re like us, strolls down the Fairhope Pier).
While it’s great to spend time outdoors, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the bliss of warm weather and sunny skies and forget to take steps to stay safe and healthy. As you prepare for spring and summer fun, be sure to keep the following safety tips in mind to ensure you can spend more time outdoors – and zero time rushing to Urgent Care of Fairhope for a severe sunburn.
Drink water…and then drink some more. Carry a bottle with you wherever you go and take a drink every 20 minutes (or more if you’re being active.) Avoid diuretics like soda or alcohol. Know the signs of dehydration – dry mouth, dizziness, headache, lethargy, cold skin, and muscle cramps.
Take regular breaks in a cool, shaded area to help regulate your body temperature, especially if you’re outdoors during the peak of the day. Watch for signs of heat-related illness – muscle cramps, flushed skin, rapid heart rate, vomiting, confusion – and seek emergency medical attention if you suspect heat stroke.
Wear protective clothing.
When possible, wear clothing that covers your arms, legs, and trunk. Don a hat with a wide brim that shades your face, ears, and the back of your neck. Darker clothing and tightly woven material offers more UV protection than lighter, looser garments.
Limit sun exposure.
Limit your time outdoors between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. when the sun’s rays are strongest. Sun damage actually begins in as little as 15 minutes! And sunburns happen faster than you think, especially during spring.
Always wear sunscreen.
Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays and has a SPF 30 or higher to all uncovered areas of skin 15-30 minutes before going outdoors. Reapply at least every two hours and more if you’re swimming or sweating.
There’s no such thing as a “healthy” tan, which is actually your skin responding to UV damage. If you must tan, don’t try to get all your sun in one day. Start slowly (5-10 minutes) and gradually build your tanning time.
Seek help for severe sunburn.
Seek immediate attention at Urgent Care of Fairhope if you experience a sunburn that forms blisters, covers more than 20% of your body, or includes symptoms like severe pain, swelling, fever and chills, nausea, or headache.