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Clinical Corner

Fun (And Safety!) In The Sun

Summer is the season of fun. It’s also the season of (sometimes) extreme heat. That means it’s time to step up your sun protection game and learn how to spot signs of / avoid heat-related illness. We pulled together all of our best tips to help you have your best summer yet. Here’s more on how you can enjoy the summer sun safely.


What to Wear

New weather means a new wardrobe. Sun exposure typically goes up during summer months, so it’s extra important to keep your skin and eyes protected. We recommend a few key updates to make sure you’re covered:

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Use broad spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen with a minimum SPF15 every time you go outside. Higher SPFs offer higher protection. Also be sure to reapply every 2 hours or after swimming, sweating, and toweling off.

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Your eyes and the delicate skin around them need protection from UV rays. In addition to skin damage, too much UV exposure can cause cataracts and other chronic effects leading to decreased vision later in life.

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Ideally you want a hat with a brim that shades your face, ears, and neck. Avoid straw, and if you wear a baseball cap, make sure to use SPF on exposed areas.

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Light-colored, breathable, lightweight, loose-fitting clothes will help you stay cool. Go for darker colors, tighter weaves, or clothes with built in UV protection for extra sun safety.


What to Do

When the heat goes up, some of our routines and behaviors need to adjust so we can stay cool. Here are a few things you can proactively do to keep yourself healthy when it’s hot and humid out:

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Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
You sweat more when it’s hot so you need to drink more than usual to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water throughout the day – don’t wait until you feel thirsty to start. If water’s not your favorite, try sports drinks or fruits and veggies with high water content like strawberries, cucumbers, and peppers. Also do your best to avoid sugar, caffeine, and alcohol.

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Seek Out Shade
When outside, try to stay in and seek out areas with shade. Look for trees and awnings or use an umbrella to provide your own.

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Stay Cool
If you have access to AC that’s always the best option. If you don’t, taking cool baths and showers can help. And dampening skin or clothes when using a fan makes them more effective in high heat. If this isn’t an option at home or a loved ones home, seek out community spaces available near you.

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Switch Up Exercise
Adjust your routine to go out in the morning or at dusk to avoid peak heat. Be sure to hydrate more and replace electrolytes. You should also lower the intensity and length of your workout, choose a shady route, and wear moisture-wicking clothes. Most importantly, listen to your body. If you feel at all dizzy or overheated, stop right away and find a cool, shady place.

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Have a Plan
Heat waves can sneak up on all of us. Stay informed about weather updates in your area, pace yourself in all activities, make a plan to stay or get to a cool place, have plenty of water on hand, and establish a “buddy system” with loved ones so everyone has someone to check in on and with. These simple steps can help prevent emergencies.

What to Know

High temperatures can lead not just to discomfort, but to illness and even death. They’re also shown to make existing mental health conditions worse for some people. When you know what, and who, to look out for, you can help prevent dangerous and potentially life-threatening situations for yourself and others:

Who’s Most at Risk

Anyone can be affected, but kids, people over 65, pregnant people, disabled / chronically ill people, people with mental illness, and people who work outside may be more vulnerable.

Heat-Related Illnesses

High temperatures and humidity levels interfere with our body’s ability to sweat. Sweat is our built-in cooling system, so if it’s not working properly we can overheat easily leading to heat exhaustion, heat stroke, or sun-stroke. Watch out for any signs of dizziness, nausea, headache, fast pulse, confusion, hot, red, or damp skin, and fainting and act right away.

Mental Health

Heat can affect your mood, sleep quality, stress levels, behavior, comfort, and the effectiveness of certain medications. This can all impact mental health and make existing conditions worse. Pay attention to how you’re feeling and reach out to your provider if you need help, support, or any adjustments to your current treatment plan.


Have questions or want to know more about how to stay safe this summer?
Connect with a Crossover provider or schedule an appointment today.