Skip to main content

Military Health System

Test of Sitewide Banner

This is a test of the sitewide banner capability. In the case of an emergency, site visitors would be able to visit the news page for addition information.

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).

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...

Sep 7, 2023

Extreme Heat

Extreme heat happens in the summer when temperatures are much hotter and/or humid than average, which means it varies by location. Exposure to extreme heat, particularly coupled with high levels of physical exertion and insufficient hydration, can cause serious health issues, and even death.

Aug 4, 2023

Summer Safety

Summer is the season for relaxing, having fun and spending time with your family and friends, but it's also a time to remember simple precautions to keep yourself and your family safe. Communicators can use these toolkit products all summer long.

Jul 20, 2023

Summer Safety

Throughout the summer months, the Military Health System focuses on summer safety, delivering key messages and tips to keep you and your family safe this summer.

May 5, 2022

Summer Safety Food Handling and Grilling

Summer Safety - food

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! www ...

Refine your search
Last Updated: July 11, 2023
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery