7 Tips For Staying Safe in the Sun for Seniors

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With the summer, comes glorious sunshine, but with that also comes the need for everyone to ensure they stay safe — and especially that they protect their skin so that they can make the most of the weather in comfort. 

This is even more important as we get older, as the risk of developing skin cancer increases, as well as other risks such as skin aging and eye damage. 

To ensure you’re well protected, read this list of the best tips and techniques for staying safe in the sun this summer. 

1. Remember to apply sunscreen

It may seem like the obvious step, but it’s something too many people either forget or dismiss as being not that effective/important. But in reality, using a sunscreen with broad spectrum protection and an SPF of at least 30 will help provide your skin with the protection it needs. And don’t forget to take it with you! In order for the protection to be sustained it needs to be reapplied throughout the day, ideally approximately every two hours. 

2. Dress for the weather with protective clothing

At its simplest, the best way to avoid or limit the harmful effects of sustained exposure to sunlight, is to cover up any areas you can to prevent exposure in the first place. 

Of course, adding layers and clothing in the summer heat can be a very unwelcoming prospect, so focus on light and breathable fabrics. There are also specialist fabrics that come with a UV rating. 

The most important area to protect however is your head, which is why it’s advisable to wear a hat when venturing out in the summer sun. Stylish and protective! 

3. Take breaks in the shade

The best way to enjoy the outdoors is to ensure you’re taking care of yourself, and one effective way to do this is by taking breaks and spending time in shaded areas, especially between 10 am and 4pm when the direct sun exposure is at its most pronounced. 

If possible, plan prolonged outdoor activities so that some or all of the duration falls outside these hours, and structure in regular breaks. Whether it’s finding natural shade such as trees, bringing your own summer umbrella, or heading indoors for a quick bite to eat, these breaks will make it easier for you to enjoy your day. 

4. Remember to stay hydrated 

It can be tempting to only drink when you’re thirsty, but this isn’t necessarily an accurate gauge of how much hydration your body needs, especially if you’re spending long periods of time out in the sun. 

Often, our bodies only send the message that we’re thirsty after dehydration has begun, meaning it’s important to remember to take on a regular intake of water. Ensure this by always keeping a bottle of water at hand no matter where you are going, and take smaller and more frequent sips. 

5. Be vigilant when it comes to heat stress 

When it comes to staying safe in the sun, it’s important to listen to what your body is telling you. By watching out for some of the signs of heat related illnesses and stresses on your body, such as heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and heat stroke, you can be proactive and take measures to prevent these conditions from occurring. 

Tell tale signs of heat related conditions include: 

  • Muscular problems, such as cramps, pains, or spasms 

  • Dizziness and physical and mental weakness, such as confusion or fainting

  • Headaches 

  • Heavy sweating or a significantly raised heart rate 

  • Nausea or vomiting

If you are suffering from heatstroke, which is when your internal temperature reaches at least 104°F, it’s important to get out of the heat quickly and into a cool place, or at least the shade. Take off any tight clothing or extra layers and lie down and elevate your legs to get blood flowing to your heart. To help regulate and lower your internal body temperature apply cool towels to your skin and take a cool bath if possible. 

If symptoms persist go to the emergency room, as heatstroke is much more serious than heat exhaustion. It can cause shock, organ failure, or brain damage.

6.  Protect your eyes with sunglasses

We’re not experts when it comes to fashion, but luckily this is completely practical advice, as sunglasses are very important when it comes to protecting your eyes from potentially harmful effects of exposure to sunlight. 

As we get older, vision problems become an increasing concern, and that makes protecting them from the sun even more important. Wearing sunglasses protects your eyes from harmful rays, but you need to make sure you opt for sunglasses that have either 100% UV protection or a UV rating of 400. Just cheap dark coloured lenses won’t protect your eyes. 

7. Understand your skin 

Skin cancer is something that becomes significantly easier to treat the quicker you catch it, which makes being proactive when it comes to spotting the warning signs. 

Knowing your own skin will help you look for abnormalities such as moles, bumps, and scaly spots, or changes in skin colour or texture that could signify an underlying issue that needs to be investigated. If you are worried about something, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your doctor and ask them for advice. 

Here at Island Mediquip, we believe in enabling people to live their best lives as they get older, being able to do everything they want to do with comfort and independence. Whether that’s getting out to enjoy the summer sun, or being able to move through your home with ease. To find out more about how we can help you, don’t hesitate to get in touch and our support team will be happy to talk you through how we can do just that.