Sun Protection Hats–It’s Not Just About Sunscreen
Day after day, an angry villain above us glares down. Because it gives us the energy we need to survive as a planet, we have a difficult truce with this demon. It tantalizes and seduces, offering warmth and joy to all those who choose to frolic in its presence. It has become a symbol of vacation plans and school holidays and is always pictured in children’s shows with a large, welcoming smile. Beach-goers fail to realize all that’s in store from the rays of this tantalizing tormenter, including pain, illness and perhaps death. Take heed, friends, for those who are not careful will surely find that they are no longer frolicking when they finish a day of too much sun.
The sun is what keeps our planet alive and the exact distance from it that we enjoy is the reason for all life on Earth, but UV (Ultra Violet) rays are affecting us every day. The US sees an average of 1.2 million new cases of skin cancer every year and that number is destined to rise given in the increase in melanoma rates. As the ozone in the atmosphere continues to be depleted, the rays that penetrate to the unsuspecting people below increase. The problems that UV rays cause will increase as well if steps are not taken.
On overcast days, the sun is nearly invisible and it doesn’t exactly feel warm outside, but UV rays are still present. The reflective nature of the ground also increases sun exposure. Reflective surfaces, such as light colored sand and cement, snow and water, will bounce rays back up, leaving the twice-baked people standing in the middle. Children spend more time outside but they are also shorter–reflected rays are stronger the closer you get to the ground and children experience up to three times the sun exposure of the adults with them.
A light sunburn is uncomfortable, but it isn’t the worst thing that can happen. A more serious sunburn resulting in blisters can double a person’s risk for skin cancer during their lifetime, particularly if it happens while they’re children. Sun poisoning not only hurts the skin, it comes with dehydration, headaches and nausea. The body sweats too much in an effort to cool itself, and the rapid dehydration is known as sun stroke or heat exhaustion, often resulting in shock. It is possible to die from severe sunburn.
Proper clothing that covers the body is more effective than the highest SPF sunscreen. Long sleeve swimwear, known as rashies, keep the shoulders and top of the back safe. Hats are key, not only protecting the head, neck and face but allowing the top of the head to release heat to regulate body temperature effectively. Parents looking to protect their children, or anyone looking to prevent melanoma, should search for sun hats and enjoy their own portable shade.
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