Stay Safe in the Sun

As summer reaches its peak, many areas of the country are seeing above average temperatures and sunny days.  Pleasant weather frequently means spending more time outside—and also raising the risk of heat and sun related issues.  Two of the most common summer-related issues doctors see at the SCNM Medical Center are heat exhaustion/heatstroke and over-exposure to the sun. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on average, over 600 people die from complications related to extreme heat each year in the United States - more than tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding, lightning or any other weather event combined. (CDC, 2018)

Heat exhaustion is the precursor to heat stroke and both are a result of the body overheating due to a variety of situations.  The Mayo Clinic states that heat exhaustion is identifiable by heavy sweating, rapid pulse, dizziness, fatigue cool/moist skin with goose bumps, muscle cramps, nausea and headaches.  (Mayo Clinic, 2018)

SCNM Medical Center physician Dr. Stephanie Seitz understands how easy it is for a person to quickly slip into overheating, and wants to remind people that it can even happen inside in areas that don’t provide proper air circulation.  She states that it is possible to prevent heatstroke and heat exhaustion by taking some simple precautions.

“To avoid even approaching heat stroke/heat exhaustion in the first place, it’s not just water that’s needed.  An increase in magnesium and potassium make a difference in prevention and protection internally.  An easy way to get that hydration as well as those nutrients, along with crucial levels of Vitamin B and C, can come from a high quality homeopathic supplement, and also drinks that are high in electrolytes such as coconut water,” advises Dr. Seitz.

Another issue with too much time in the sun is the damage caused by direct exposure to the skin.  This includes sunburn and skin cancer.

Dr. Arianna Rodriguez, another doctor at SCNM’s Medical Center, focuses on dermatology and offers this advice for avoiding both types of extreme and dangerous overexposure to the sun’s harmful rays: 

“An important thing to know about sun exposure is that damaging rays can enter the body from any exposed body part, even a thick head of hair.  Eventually, the damage that the harmful type of rays cause, even when absorbed in unexpected places, can turn up in other areas of the skin and body at a later time.  A closed window while driving isn’t even enough protection—window tinting still allows the sun to come in contact with skin and hasn’t be proven to be effective enough to use as protection.”

Wearing clothing that protects every area of the body from sun is still the best way to avoid dangerous exposure concludes Dr. Rodriguez, although she reminds people that choosing lighter fabrics and even using an umbrella for shade will help prevent heat exhaustion and well as skin damage. 

Wearing sunscreen is important, but many do not like the toxic chemicals or animal testing that goes into the creation of many sunscreens.  Don't worry, we have you covered (pun intended)!  Click here for a vegan, parabens free sunscreen available online from the SCNM Medicinary!  Simply use access code "SCNM" to create a login for NP Script.

So wear those hats, stay hydrated and have a safe and fun summer!