Norton Shores Michigan Chiropractor - The weather was in the 90s in the Muskegon area this weekend. While this made for fabulous beach weather on Lake Michigan, a lot of people (some of them being my patients) forgot how to plan for the weather and prevent mishaps and they have the painful red skin to show for it. With that, I thought it would be a good idea to offer up some tips on how to stay healthy in sun this summer.
1. Be smart with your sun exposure
When you go from being indoors most days and then expect to spend an entire day out in the hot sun, be careful! The skin is designed to gradually build up a tolerance to sunlight, darkening in order to better absorb the rays in the future. We call this tanning. However, most people try to rush this process and get it all done in one afternoon. This often results in a burn.Before you glob on the SPF 1000 sunblock, ask yourself: “Am I getting too much exposure?" The answer is probably “yes.” If so, wear a hat, keep your shirt on, and find some shade from time to time.2. Use sunblock when you need it and know what to buy
If you absolutely must be exposed for hours at a time, make sure and apply sunblock at least 30 minutes prior and reapply as necessary. When shopping for sunblock, check the label for these key features:“Non-comedogenic” - this means it will not clog your pores, which is better for your skin if you are prone to breakouts
“Hypo-allergenic” - these sunblocks are less likely to cause skin irritation. If you do have sensitive skin, dab a small area of your skin and see if you react to it.
“Water-proof / Sweat-proof” - self-explanatory
“UVA/UVB” - most sunblock works against UVB but UVA is the one that penetrates deeper and is more likely to cause cancer
“SPF Gajillion” - Most studies have shown that anything over SPF 30 offers little additional protection. For example, SPF 30 gives you 97% protection. SPF 40? 97.2% SPF 50? 97.3%
If you want 100% coverage, be prepared to cover your entire body in magic marker3. Drink lots of water!
If you are out sweating like mad while working in the yard, those fluids must be replenished or else dehydration could set in. Electrolytes are also lost in your sweat, but instead of reaching for a sugary sports drink, have a piece of fruit along with your water instead.4. Listen to your body. Heat stroke can set in without warning but being aware of the warning signs will allow you to seek treatment if needed. If you are feeling tired, weak, dizzy, or light-headed, immediately seek shade and replenish your fluids. If more severe symptoms are present, such as a body temperature above 102 degrees, an inability to sweat, vomiting or muscle cramps, get medical help immediately. If you are not sure, call your doctor and see if you can speak with a nurse.5. Take it easy with the alcohol.
Yeah, I know...every party has a pooper, right? Well, I’m sorry to ruin everybody’s fun, but sun + hot temperatures + alcohol = emergency room! Alcohol, besides improving your perceived ability to dance, fight, and court the opposite gender, also enhances the volume of your urination! This means you lose water through your urine, causing you to become dehydrated even faster. Additionally, if you are intoxicated, you are far less likely to notice the signs of heat stroke until it is too late. You could even pass out in a lawn chair and wake up stuck to your seat! So, if you are going to attend a festival, tractor pull, or pool party where sun, heat, and alcohol are intertwined, play it smart: drink one large glass of water in between each alcoholic beverage and make sure to eat plenty of food. An empty stomach makes the situation even worse. Note: this rule also applies to caffeinated beverages, as well because they have the same effect. It drives me crazy when you see a soda commercial where someone is hot and sweaty playing volleyball and reaches for a sugary, caffeinated drink. It's one of the worst things you can do.
So be sensible while enjoying summertime in West Michigan. We all love the beaches, the water, and the outdoor festivities. But don’t forget to plan ahead and use common sense when it comes to summer fun. As a chiropractor, I can't adjust your back if I can't touch it!