Steer Clear of Sunburn This Summer

Posted on Jul 5th 2019 by Florida Blue

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Looking to make the most of your Florida summer? With the warmer months come many outdoor activities. If you are planning to head out into the great outdoors, remember to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays. Here’s how you can protect your skin this summer.

Protecting yourself from the sun is particularly important for adults over age 65. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, because you have years of sun exposure under your belt, you’re more likely to develop melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. Did you know men are at a higher risk? Men over 80 are three times more likely to develop melanoma than women of the same age.

Know the difference between UVA & UVB rays. There are two types of rays that can harm your skin. The first type of harmful ray is Ultraviolet Type A (UVA) rays. These rays are present during all hours of daylight. They are responsible for causing skin damage and wrinkles. It’s also the type of ray that gives you a tan. The second harmful ray is Ultraviolet Type B (UVB) rays. They are most prevalent between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. They can cause a sunburn along with your tan. UVB rays have long been recognized as a key cause of skin cancer. Experts now recognize that UVA rays also play a major role in the development of skin cancer. Make sure to protect yourself from both by wearing sunscreen. If you are looking to take more safety measures, talk to your doctor about yearly screening for skin cancer.

Wear sunscreen when you go outside. Not all sunscreens are created equal. With all the options out there, it’s hard to know which sunscreen is right for you. Different sunscreens use different ingredients to help stop harmful UVA and UVB rays from reaching your skin and increasing your risk for skin cancer. Whichever sunscreen you use, remember to reapply the sunscreen every 2 hours, or as needed.

When shopping for sunscreens keep in mind:

  • The higher the SPF (sun protection factor) number, the more protection you will get from the sun. SPF 30 and higher is best. 
  • Look for sunscreen with “broad-spectrum” on the label for the best coverage. This will protect your skin from all UV rays, including UVA and UVB.
  • Most moisturizers and aftershave products have SPF 15-50. The higher the SPF, the higher percentage of UV rays that are blocked from your skin. However, if you are spending a lot of time in the sun, use real sunscreen.
  • No matter how high the SPF, remember to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, or as needed. If you are swimming or sweating a lot, you will need to apply it more frequently.              

How to beat the summer heat and humidity:

  • When planning a trip outdoors, make sure to look at the weather forecast to see how strong the heat index (sometimes called “real feel”) and UV levels will be. UV levels tell you how much wavelength energy the sun is giving off, which could harm your skin. Download a weather app on your smartphone to quickly learn the current heat or UV index.                        Limit trips outdoors on days of high humidity. Humidity affects how fast your sweat evaporates and can leave you feeling hotter than it really is. Humidity levels under 60 are best.
  • Plan activities during the cooler hours of the day (morning and evening hours). According to the American Skin Association, the most dangerous time to be outside is between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Hydration is key during the summer. Stay hydrated and drink extra water during days of high activity. You should drink 8-10 cups of water each day.
  • Try sports drinks that are high in electrolytes, such as Gatorade. Electrolytes keep your body hydrated and muscles functioning. If you’re diabetic, read the label for sugar content or talk to your doctor about a brand that won’t increase your glucose levels.
  • Stay covered. Make sure to wear wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, light clothing, and always apply sunscreen.
  • If you feel overheated, take a break and drink some water. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to take a drink.
  • Look out for the signs of heat stroke:
    • High body temperature
    • Flushed skin
    • Headache
    • Fast, strong heart rate
    • Nausea and vomiting

If you experience these symptoms, call 911. Heat stroke can damage your organs and even lead to death.


Remember, healthy skin is always in. Use these tips to stay happy and healthy while still enjoying your summer. As always, keep cool and use sunscreen!






Y0011_96439_C 0619 C: 06/2019

Filed under: Medicare  

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