Skip to main content

Military Health System

Think Sunscreen and Water for Summer Sun Safety

Image of SPF written in sunblock on someone's arm. The 673rd Medical Operations Squadron Dermatology Clinic at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, offers these tips to prevent the onset of skin cancer such as generously applying sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher, wearing protective clothing, seeking shade when the sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and monitoring any changes in your body (Photo by: Air Force Staff Sgt. Sheila deVera).

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Extreme Heat | Summer Safety Toolkit

Sun safety should be an everyday concern regardless of the season. Your most potent safety protections against the sun are dollops of UVA/UVB sunscreen, lots of water, and knowing your own physical limitations.

UVA and UVB rays are the most common types of ultraviolet rays the sun produces. According to the Food and Drug Administration, UVA rays have longer wave lengths and can penetrate the middle layer of your skin (dermis), while UVB rays have shorter wave lengths that reach the outer layer of your skin (the epidermis).

Both UVA and UVB rays can cause damage to your skin. Sunburn is a sign of short-term overexposure, while premature aging and skin cancer are side effects of prolonged UV exposure.

"Sun safety doesn't need to be complicated; it just needs to be consistent," said Navy Lt. Cmdr. (Dr.) Nathan Zundel, department head of Emergency Medicine at Navy Medicine Readiness Training Command Twentynine Palms, California. "Parents especially can help children develop a regular habit of UV protection so that, like seatbelts, it becomes second nature as they get older."

Below are some recommendations to be safe in the sun:

  1. Always wear sunscreen outside and reapply frequently, especially to highly sensitive areas such as your ears, nose, neck and chest, and your scalp. Don't forget the back of your neck, your hands and the tops of your feet.
  2. Use the highest level SPF sunscreen you can find (at least SPF 30).
  3. UVA/UVB blocker ingredients such as zinc oxide are good to look for on your sunscreen's label.
  4. Sunscreen takes a while to absorb and activate, so apply at least 15 minutes before you go outside.
  5. Wear sunscreen every day. The effects of sun exposure are cumulative and can cause skin cancer.
  6. For your children, try applying a sunscreen that you can see, such as purple ones that change to clear as they dry. That way, you’ll get every spot.
  7. Hats and sunglasses are a good idea each time you go outside.
  8. Try to stay out of the sun when it is at its height, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  9. Know your own limits when it comes to activity.
  10. Watch for signs of heat strain and heat stroke. These include:

a. Painful muscle spasms usually in the legs or abdomen
b. No sweating
c. Goosebumps
d. Headache
e. Clamminess, pale skin
f. Dizziness or disorientation

11. If you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated, so drink plenty of water at constant rates.

You also may be interested in...

Air Quality Awareness in a Haze

Article Around MHS
9/15/2022
Hazy sunset view at Puget Sound

Due to raging wildfires scorching thousands of acres from British Columbia to northern California, there’s been a murky layer which has settled over the entire area, which has even closed highways and mountain passes in Washington State.

Recommended Content:

Environmental Exposures | Wildfires | Environmental Fitness | Summer Safety

Taking the stings out of summer fun

Article
8/15/2022
Beekeeper in protective gear holds framework with bees and honey..

What you should know and do about bee, wasp, and hornet stings

Recommended Content:

Bug-Borne Illnesses | Summer Safety | Public Health

Avoid summertime food poisoning with these easy tips

Article
8/12/2022
Someone cooking on a grill

Food safety in the summer is just as important as sunscreen

Recommended Content:

Nutritional Fitness | Summer Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit

Summer Water Safety Means: Know your Limitations

Article
8/10/2022
Military personnel participating in a swim call

Know your swimming rules and dangers

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit

Soldiers Not Immune to Damage of Sun's Rays

Article Around MHS
7/28/2022
Soldiers not immune to damage of sun’s rays

Some soldiers have a greater risk for developing skin cancer than others. For July’s UV Safety Awareness month, soldiers should be aware of their risks and how to reduce their chances of skin cancer.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Summer Safety

Staying Mission Ready with Rising Temperatures

Article Around MHS
7/14/2022
Military personnel facing sun

Though increased temperatures can pose quite a risk, Soldiers training and missions can continue as they utilize different tools to mitigate those risks.

Recommended Content:

Environmental Exposures | Summer Safety

Are You Prepared for a Disaster?

Article
7/7/2022
Start by creating a basic disaster emergency kit and create a plan to get back together as a family in the event of a disaster.

How to prepare for an evacuation affecting your family? Or even losing your home? Start by creating a basic disaster emergency kit and create a plan to get back together as a family in the event of a disaster.

Recommended Content:

Emergency Preparedness and Response | Disaster Prep Toolkit | Environmental Fitness | Summer Safety

Tips for Enjoying Outdoor Activities as Summer Arrives

Article
6/27/2022
People biking on a trail in protective gear

Biking, paddle boarding, swimming, and hiking are good ways to get outside in nature in the summer.

Recommended Content:

Physical Fitness | Summer Safety

Ask the Doc: Heat Stroke vs. Heat Exhaustion -- What's the Difference?

Article
6/27/2022
Heat exhaustion can rapidly progress to heat injuries like organ dysfunction or heat stroke.

Heat exhaustion can rapidly progress to heat injuries like organ dysfunction or heat stroke.

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Heat Injuries | Ask The Doc

Doctors Recommend Sunscreen for All Skin Complexions

Article
6/13/2022
The dangers of too much sunlight – from sunspots to skin cancer – are real risks for everyone regardless of skin complexion, doctors say.

The dangers of too much sunlight – from sunspots to skin cancer – are real risks for everyone regardless of skin complexion, doctors say.

Recommended Content:

Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Summer Safety

Summer Safety - Boat Safety

Infographic
5/5/2022
Summer Safety - Boat Safety

Sadly, when operating a boat, the possibility of injuries and fatalities are very real. It is important to know your boat and where you’re headed on your trip.

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Boat Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit

Summer Safety Main

Infographic
5/5/2022
Summer Safety Main

Main Summer Safety Graphic

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety Toolkit | Summer Safety

Summer Safety Food Handling and Grilling

Infographic
5/5/2022
Summer Safety Food Handling and Grilling

As pleasant summer weather ramps up, you might be ready to head outside and fire up your grill. Before you do, make sure you’re following proper grilling safety guidelines. According to the National Fire Protection Association, over 19,000 people on average are injured in a grilling accident each year. Don’t be part of the statistics this year!

Recommended Content:

Food Handling & Grilling | Summer Safety Toolkit

Summer Safety Banner

Infographic
5/5/2022
Summer Safety Banner

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit

Summer Safety - Bicycle Safety

Infographic
5/5/2022
Summer Safety - Bicycle Safety

As you might expect, when a crash occurs between a vehicle and a bike, it’s the cyclist most likely to be injured. Here are some tips on how you can prevent bicycle injuries and deaths, and remember: A large percentage of crashes can be avoided if motorists and cyclists follow the rules of the road and watch out for each other.

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Bicycling Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit
<< < 1 2 3 4 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 4
Refine your search
Last Updated: May 12, 2022
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery