Pool season is officially here, so don’t forget your sunscreen! Many of us take full advantage of the warm weather by spending time by the pool or on the beach. Fun in the sun is inevitable during the dog days of summer.  However, spending time in the sun can also pose a significant health risk.

Pool safety usually refers to staying safe in the pool, but also in its surrounding areas. In today’s blog post, let’s take a look at how anyone spending time outdoors this summer can avoid burns.

The Importance of Sunscreen

Soaking in the summer sun isn’t all bad, but it is important to do so responsibly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can cause skin damage in as little as 15 minutes.

Sun safety is especially important for small children since they have sensitive skin that can burn quickly.  In fact, it turns out that children who get several sunburns at a young age are more likely to get skin cancer as adults.


Sunscreen and Children

Between playing in the water, building sandcastles at the beach and learning to swim, children can easily rack up many hours in the sun. Be sure that your child is staying hydrated and taking breaks.  They should also avoid extended exposure to the sun’s rays between the peak hours of 10am-2pm.  This is when they are likely to burn much more quickly.

If your child is under six months old, sunscreen is not recommended.  In this case, keep the infant out of the sun as much as possible to protect their sensitive skin.  When they are outdoors, be sure that they remain in the shade and are wearing lightweight clothing that leaves their skin unexposed.

Sunscreen and Adults

In the summer months, it is tempting to spend all day basking in the sunlight. Lounging by the pool, taking in the waves and doing some laps for a great workout are all on our calendars.  That said, skin cancer and severe burns are nothing to ignore.

Here’s how to make sure you’re using sunscreen properly:

  • Apply generously. Be sure that the sunscreen fully covers your skin. Don’t skimp!
  • Use sunscreen on any and all exposed skin, such as the neck, ears and face.
  • Use even when it is cloudy. UV rays pass through the clouds even when it doesn’t appear sunny outside. That means you should still use sunscreen!
  • Check the expiration date. Many people don’t know that sunscreen expires.  As a result, they let the same tube sit from one summer to the next, making it less effective.
  • Reapply frequently. Sunscreen can wear off throughout the day, so reapply it every two hours to be sure that it is working effectively.

Other Ways to Stay Safe in the Sun

Sunscreen is just one important way to stay safe in the sun.  Shielding yourself from the harmful UV rays to begin with is another essential step you can take. When you’re outdoors, stay shaded by using protective coverings like umbrellas or canopies. Wear clothing that breathes, yet covers your body.  A brimmed hat can shield your face from the UV rays as well.