Overexposure to the sun can be quite dangerous, with hazards ranging from the discomfort of sunburn to the dangers of sunstroke, skin cancer and cataracts. There are several sensible ways to avoid all of these — beginning with common sense.
- Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun.
- Stay hydrated.
- Wear adequate sunscreen and apply as directed by the labeling. Sunscreens with protection against UVB rays are graded with a sun protection factor (SPF). Use of a sunscreen with at least an SPF 30 rating is recommended when engaging in outdoor activities.
- Sunscreen should be applied before insect repellent. Note: DEET-containing insect repellents can reduce the SPF of sunscreens by one third, so more frequent reapplication of sunscreen and repellent is necessary when using both.
- Bring a hat with a large brim for sun protection.
- Wear sunglasses with ultraviolet (UV)-protective lenses.
- Some medications, including doxycycline and ciprofloxacin (Cipro®), can make your skin more sun-sensitive. You will need to be extra cautious and use sunscreen and other protective measures accordingly when taking these medications.
- If you find yourself with a sunburn, take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen for pain relief and apply cold compresses. Moisturizing creams and lotions, including aloe, will help prevent drying and cracking. Obviously, you should remain out of the sun for a few days.