Summer is a great time for outdoor activities: boating, swimming, grilling, or just walking in the park or along the bayous. There’s nothing like laying out on a huge towel along one of Galveston’s beaches, soaking up the rays. But, we’ve all suffered from the unpleasant results of staying out in the sun too long and winding up with painful sunburns.
With so many outdoor activities available to all of us along the Gulf coast, it’s a good idea to keep in mind a few rules that may help you avoid the painful results of a burn. In our next blog we’ll discuss a few ways to treat sunburn should you end up with one.
The best approach, of course, is to avoid being out in the sun too long in the first place. This is not always possible if you are a dedicated outdoor type out to have fun on the water or along the coast. Therefore, here are several tips to keep your skin from burning when you’re out enjoying yourself.
- Use sunscreen with a high SPF factor. For short durations in the sun, an SPF number of at least 15 should be used while SPF of 30 or 50 should be used for longer times outdoors. Be sure to apply plenty of lotion and to cover all exposed areas. Also, if you spend time in the water, the lotion may wash off, so replenish as needed.
- Wear loose-fitting clothes that protect you against the sun’s rays. The strongest sun’s rays occur between the hours of around 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM, so if you must be outside during this time, try to cover as much of your skin as possible: Hats, sunglasses, umbrellas, or shady trees can keep you in the shade and help protect your skin.
- Be especially careful on cloudy days. When the sky is overcast, you may feel that you are protected from the sun’s rays. Not so. Most of the harmful rays actually penetrate clouds and can burn nearly as severely as on bright days. Many severe types of sunburn occur on cloudy days because the air may be cooler, and there is a perception that the clouds act as a shade. Remember, when the sky is overcast, the need for sunscreen is even more critical than on bright, hot days.
- Take care to guard against sunburn in the winter as well as summer. While water sports are not as prevalent in winter, many Texans love to head to the mountains for skiing. When you’re out hitting the slopes, remember that snow reflects most of the sun’s energy and will burn as severely as the direct sun in the summer. Use plenty of sunscreen on exposed skin. The cold air won’t protect you from a possible burn.
Sunburn is not only painful but can also be dangerous if extreme sunburn is not treated. Sunburn that blisters needs to be carefully treated, so the blisters thoroughly heal. Blisters can burst, which can lead to infections. If you have a severe sunburn, with or without blisters, it may be a good idea to visit one of Emergency Hospital System’s ER rooms. A trained professional will examine your burn and, depending on your situation, may provide suitable treatment. Our doctors and staff may be able to offer you some pain relief from the burn, which might also reduce peeling.
Walk-in or give our office a call for an appointment. We have plenty of close-in free parking, our wait times are short, and our staff is available 24/7/365. It’s best to avoid painful sunburn, but if you do wind up with a severe burn, stop in and visit with one of our staff. Call today, 281-592-5400.