Summer Sun Protection

With many of us spending hours on the golf course this summer, the smart health advice is to use lots of sunscreen protection and drink plenty of liquids

Sun protection is paramount as in the summer months, when players and spectators spend many hours of the day in bright sunshine—all are at risk to the effects of sun exposure. The more exposure to the sun, the more important it is to guard against its hazards. Read on for our tips on summer sun protection.

UV protection

Here’s a checklist that details just how over exposure to the sun can be harmful, and just how important sun protection really is. Over-exposure can lead to:

  • Eye injuries—UV rays can damage the tissue in your eyes. These harmful rays can burn your outer layer, the cornea. They also can blur your vision. Over time, you can develop cataracts that can cause blindness if left untreated.
  • Lowered immune system—white blood cells work to protect your body. When your skin gets burned, white blood cells help create new cells. This process can put your immune system at risk in other areas.
  • Skin cancer—most skin cancer is non-melanoma. This is very common, but also treatable. Melanoma skin cancer is not as common, but is more severe. Skin cancer can spread to other areas of the body especially if left untreated.
  • Skin changes—some skin cells with melanin can form a clump. This creates freckles and moles. Over time, these can develop into cancer.

Prevention and sun protection

Be aware—the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Cover up—wear clothing and hats to protect your skin from UV rays. Wear sunglasses.

Take a break—go inside, get in the shade or use an umbrella.

Use sunscreen—the higher the SPF, the more it will protect against UV rays. The FDA suggests using SPF 15 or greater. Apply 30 minutes before going outside. Re-apply every two hours.

Hydration and dehydration

Whether you’re playing golf or are spectating, it’s important to make sure you get the right amount of water before, during and after time out on the golf course. Water regulates the body temperature and lubricates the joints. It also helps transport nutrients to give you energy and keep you healthy—if you’re not properly hydrated, your body can’t perform at its highest level. You may experience fatigue, muscle cramps, dizziness or more serious symptoms.

Heat exhaustion and heatstroke are serious conditions. Learn to recognize the warning signs of these complaints, such as: heavy sweating, pale or cold skin weakness and/or confusion, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, fast heartbeat and dark-colored urine, which indicates dehydration. And learn how to treat these conditions…

Prioritise sun protection and learn how to treat these conditions…

The American Council on Exercise has suggested the following basic guidelines for drinking water before, during and after exercise:

  • Drink 17 to 20 ounces of water at least four hours before starting to exercise;
  • Drink eight ounces of water 20 to 30 minutes before starting exercise or during your warm-up;
  • Drink seven to 10 ounces of water every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise;
  • Drink eight ounces of water no more than 30 minutes after you exercise.

In addition to this advice, sports drinks may also be helpful. The calories, potassium and other nutrients in sports drinks can provide helpful energy and electrolytes—sun protection during the warm summer months has never been so important.

[Information sources: FDA, American Council on Exercise, American College of Sports Medicine]

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