Protecting Yourself from Sunburn While Swimming
Although pools provide a cool, watery refuge from summer heat, swimmers are still in danger from harmful UV rays. Unprotected skin covered in salt and/or chlorine is an open invitation to sunburn and other painful skin problems. Here is what you need to know to keep you and your loved ones safe this season:
- Sunscreen – You know that sunscreen is important, but did you know that you need to apply it before heading outside? Even 15-20 minutes outside without protection during the hottest part of the day can lead to bright red burns. Remember to apply sunscreen 20 minutes before heading outdoors. Try applying before you put your bathing suit on to ensure that you get under straps and along the seams. Use an SPF 15 or higher and set a timer to reapply every 2 hours. You’ll still get a tan! You just won’t have to deal with burns and the possibility of skin cancer later in life.
- Sunglasses – Cataracts, eye burns, and other eye conditions are linked to sun exposure. Shades keep your eyes protected and look great, too. Grab a stylish glasses’ floatie to keep them from sinking while you swim, and look for polarized lenses to help you see through lake and ocean water.
- Protective clothing – Add a long sleeved, button up cotton shirt to your swim bag and consider dressing the kids in UV blocking swim shirts. If anyone starts to turn pink, head over to the shade for some sunscreen reapplication and extra clothing. Don’t forget exposed patches of skin in thinning hair and parts. Use sunscreen or cover up with a hat.
- Hydration and food – Always drink plenty of water. Even though you’re playing in water, dehydration can become a severe problem quickly. Without proper hydration, you could face the effects of heat exhaustion or worse. Add fruit to water to keep it tasty while hydrating, and use low sugar sports drinks to normalize electrolytes.
The sun’s rays are at their worst between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm, so remember to stay protected during the day. Use aloe-based moisturizers and ice packs to relieve the symptoms of sunburn, and avoid getting more sun exposure while you’re healing.
It’s easy to forget sun safety while you’re having fun, so make sunscreen and other safety measures part of your group activities. Seek medical attention for symptoms of severe dehydration, heat exhaustion, and severe burns as these conditions can become very serious and even life threatening.
The Pools of Fun Family wants all of you to stay safe during this summer’s swimming season!