Sun Safety: Prevention and After-Care

haf11We recently discussed how to protect against sun exposure by using sunscreen and protective layers, so please read that article, then come back here.

Tanning beds

Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun during the most intense times (10am-4pm). It’s also important to avoid tanning beds. These beds have lamps that use the same light as the sun, only instead of the sun’s rays which are bouncing off of the trees, pavement, buildings, and you, the lamps are focused only on you. Some medications make you more sensitive to sun exposure, causing you to burn more easily. Check your prescription and over-the-counter medication labels, as sun sensitivity will be listed if it is a side effect.

Self exam

Conduct skin exams over your entire body once a month, standing in front of a full-length mirror. Be sure to use a smaller, hand-held mirror to examine all hard-to-see places, and lift up your hair around your neck, ears, and forehead. Become familiar with the pattern of moles, freckles, and any other marks on your skin so that you will notice any changes in them. Watch any bumps or moles to make sure they are not changing in shape, color, or size, and watch for any new growths or any sores that won’t heal. Show your doctor anything that concerns you. People with moles, freckles, fair skin/hair, and a personal or family history of skin cancer need to be more careful and aware of their sun exposure (but don’t assume you’re exempt if you don’t have these characteristics).


haf3If you do get a sunburn, stay in the shade, as any additional sun exposure will increase pain and the severity of the burn. Take a cool bath or shower or apply cool compresses to alleviate the heat and pain of the burn. Apply aloe vera gel, which is excellent for soothing the burn and quickening healing. You can take a pain reliever, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (aspirin), or use the spray-on “after burn” pain relievers (remember to always talk to your doctor before taking any medicine). If the sunburn is severe, looks infected, or blisters begin to develop, call your doctor. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are also a possibility in warmer weather when one becomes sunburned, dehydrated, or overheated. Call your doctor if you experience an unexplained fever, trouble looking at light, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fainting, or mental confusion.

Safe fun

Get outside and enjoy that beautiful weather that God has given us. “…you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near” (Luke 21:30 NKJV). Do not be afraid to take your activities outside; just be aware of what your body is telling you. Learn as much as you can to protect yourself and your family, keeping your bodies healthy so that you can continue to serve and praise God to your full ability. As with all activities, make sure you drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. By the way, have you reapplied that sunscreen lately?

By Sherri Houmard

Speak Your Mind