June 10, 2019

Three ways to stay healthy in the sun

Don’t miss out on summer fun because you got heat stroke.
desert sand
Don’t miss out on summer fun because you got heat stroke.

Summer in Calgary is short. Don’t miss out on the chance to have fun in the sun because you got a sunburn or heat stroke. Follow these three easy tips when you’re out in the sunshine to make sure you stay healthy all summer.

Pick the right sun protection

New research shows SPF provides only UVB protection, and while UVA exposure doesn’t cause sunburns, it still can cause skin cancer.  This means common SPF sunscreens just don’t cut it. Look for a sunscreen that includes one or more UVA blocking ingredients like avobenzone, oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, or zinc oxide.

Sensitive skin? You might need more than just sunscreen. Wearing long-sleeved, natural fibre garments in light colours will keep you cool and protect your skin against damage from UV rays.

a straw hat, sunglasses and a blue bandana sit on a table

Wearing a wide-brim hat reduces the risk of heat exhaustion

Avoid heat exhaustion

You know the feeling you get after a long day out in the sun? That headachy, swollen-fingered tiredness? That’s actually heat exhaustion, a heat-related illness that happens when you’re out in hot temperatures.

Heat exhaustion is caused by either water or salt depletion, resulting in excessive thirst, headache, weakness, nausea and dizziness. It can also cause you to faint. While it’s not as dangerous as heat stroke, it’s still an unpleasant way to spend a hot summer day.

To prevent heat exhaustion, slap on SPF 30 or higher, drink extra water, fruit and vegetable juice or electrolyte-rich drinks, and wear a hat.

Stay cool during patio season

Spending time on a sunny patio is one of the best parts of summer in the city. If you’re going to be drinking alcohol in the sun, there are some ways to stay as safe as possible so you don’t get sick from the heat. Wearing your sunscreen and following the tips above to avoid heat exhaustion can help, so can alternating alcoholic beverages with water. Avoiding drinks with lots of sugar can help you retain fluids, which is important since alcohol causes dehydration. If you start to feel light-headed, confused or weak – take a break indoors until you feel better.