It is that time to talk about healthy living during the summer. I have been seeing a lot of people at the pool or beach not using sunscreen. Please protect your family from the sun and heat.
I love the sun but it can be too much. Winter depression is very real for some. Even a little bit of sunshine during Michigan winters can get you in the mood for the “I will be so happy when summer gets here dance”.
Ultraviolent rays are always present and as spring morphs into summer, we may forget about them. Those rays can damage your skin and sunburns are seriously painful. They can also lead to skin cancer.
Remember that if you have darker skin you can also get sunburned or skin cancer too. The melanin in your skin helps protect you from the sun but it is not a one hundred percent protectant.
Enjoy the weather during the summer but be prepared and teach your children about proper skin care.
I remember while growing up on Long Island, NY, my father suffered from serious sunburn. That one event taught me that black people could get seriously sunburned too.
I recall being so excited. We did not get to spend a lot of time as children going out with my father. He worked in Brooklyn, NY, as a police officer. On that day we piled in to the back of his Dodge Polara to go on an excursion to Sagtikos Pool. There were four of us and three boys from the neighborhood.
When we got there, I remember it was so hot that the concrete singed the bottom of our feet as we hopped, skipped and dove to avoid the possibility of our soles sticking. We played for hours.
On the way back, all seven of us squeezed into the back of the Polara with our wet sticky swimsuits and skin. Back then you could sit on someone’s lap and seat belts were not mandatory.
I remember being crushed every time my father made a right turn. The other children would push until you were squeezed against the car door.
Every time he made a turn to the left I would do my best to cram the other six people too. But the boys always won. We would howl and moan about being squished by each other. My father would always tell us to quiet down. But this time he was silent.
When we got back home my father said he had awful sunburn across his back. Thank goodness it was the weekend. Over the week he blistered a bit and peeled. It was not pretty.
Apply a sunscreen with an SPF of 30. I have heard that higher SPF’s are not necessary but just having it on, is better than not having anything on at all. I also see some reports say at least SPF 15. However, to be careful I choose one with an SPF of 30. You should apply sunscreen 30 minutes prior to exposure to the sun.
Brown spots, sagging skin and broken blood vessels in your face can all be caused by exposure to the sun or ultraviolet rays from a tanning bed. Wrinkles, fine lines, upper lip lines “worry lines” between your eyes can all be caused by the sun too. Tanning can make you feel beautiful but there are cons to it as well. It always concerns me when I see someone whose skin is leathery and brown. It does not look natural to me.
Use sunscreen even it is cloudy or overcast in the summer. One tablespoon is a lot but it is necessary. You will also be able to apply it to both your face and neck. If you are at the beach or pool remember to reapply if you swim or sweat heavily. If you are especially sensitive wear a wide brimmed hat.
Other things to look out for are heat exhaustion and sun poisoning. Sun poisoning is very severe case of sunburn.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion are heavy sweating, fast heartbeat, shortness of breath, heat cramps, swelling, nausea or upset stomach or dizziness.
You can avoid sun poisoning by drinking plenty of water on hot days, finding shade and again, using sunscreen. If you get sun poisoning take ibuprofen and use aloe vera gel. If you really do not feel well, go to Urgent Care or visit your physician.
If you are spending a lot of time in the heat or your living conditions are without air, open windows or a fan, please change your situation. Life is too short not to be careful. You future is wrapped in it – your skin. Treat it well and be good to yourself.
Printed in the August 7, 2016 - August 20, 2016 edition.