PREVENT SUNBURN AND DEHYDRATION THIS SUMMER
Summer holidays are all about fun in the sun, with many of us aiming to get a ‘healthy tan.’ However, without protection, most people’s skin will start to burn after only 10 minutes of exposure to the sun. Too much sun not only damages the skin and ages us prematurely – it can be deadly.
How can sunburn be prevented?
- Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Wear protective clothing such as a broad-brimmed hat and UV-protected sunglasses.
- Be aware that sunburn can occur even on a cloudy day and also when you are in the water.
- Remember that sand and water reflect the sun’s rays and increase the chance of burning.
- Use a protective sunscreen to minimise the penetration of UV rays. Apply several minutes before going into the sun and reapply often.
What to do if you’re sunburnt:
- Avoid further exposure to the sun.
- Cool the skin with a cold shower or cool to lukewarm bath.
- Gently pat the skin dry (do not rub).
- Avoid direct pressure to the burnt area.
- Take pain killers.
- Apply calamine lotion, witch hazel or after sun lotion to cool and calm the skin.
Sunburn raises your temperature, causing you to sweat more. Avoid dehydration by regularly drinking cold, refreshing drinks like Slim Ice Tea, and not just when you feel thirsty.
Symptoms of dehydration:
– Dry mouth and eyes
– Dark and decreased urination
– Headache and dizziness
– Irritability and confusion
What to do:
Get out of the sun and lie down somewhere cool. Keep drinking fluids until your urine becomes clear.
Just a bit of sunburn, or something more serious?
Heat exhaustion is a severe form of dehydration, caused by the loss of salt and water from excessive sweating.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion are:
– Headache, dizziness and nausea
– Rapid but weak breathing and pulse
– Profuse sweating
What to do:
Get out of the sun immediately and have someone sponge you down with lukewarm (not cold) water. Drink as much rehydration solution as you can manage and rest until you fully recover. Have someone monitor you closely for any signs of deterioration.
Prolonged exposure to the sun or lack of fluids can cause your body to dangerously overheat. The onset can be sudden, resulting in unconsciousness in a matter of minutes.
The main signs of heatstroke are:
– Headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion & restlessness
– Hot, flushed, dry skin due to failure of sweating mechanism
– Rapid pulse
– Rapid deterioration in the level of response
What to do:
The main priority is to cool the body down as quickly as possible. However, never use ice or very cold water as this could cause thermal shock, which could be fatal. Medical assistance should be sought as soon as possible.