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What you need to know about COVID-19: July 31
Get the latest summer forecast and weather knowledge from Cindy Day
The Journal Pioneer
While summer in Atlantic Canada brings so many wonderful things, for many hot weather-loving folks it also means the return of the dreaded sunburn.
Most of us have probably had a sunburn throughout our lives and can attest that it’s not the most fun thing in the world. But pain and irritation aside, sun burns are also incredibly dangerous for our skin.
As we know, sun burns are caused by overexposure to UV radiation from the sun or tanning beds. Symptoms include hot/painful redness, fatigue, and mild dizziness. Plus, UV exposure increases the chance of developing skin cancer. Behind the scenes, your skin cells are actually dying and being replaced, that’s how angry they are.
So, just how long does it take to get a sunburn? It can occur in less than 15 minutes when no preventative measures are taken to protect the skin. Skin can turn red within 30 minutes of being in the sun, but it usually takes up to six hours for the full burn to appear, which means even if you don’t notice the change as you’re lounging by the pool, you could be developing a nasty burn that you’ll pay for later.
In most locations the sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and UV radiation can even pass through clouds, so just because the sun isn’t beating down doesn’t mean you’re not at risk.
SPF sunscreens lower the amount of damage done to our skin, but most people don’t apply enough to create a protective layer nor do we reapply frequently enough. To protect yourself appropriately, sunscreen should be applied 15 to 30 minutes before exposure and then again 15 to 30 minutes after you’ve been outside. Don’t forget your sunglasses and SPF lip chap!
Water, sand, concrete, and even snow can reflect the sun’s rays and make sunburns more likely, so it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and try to cover up whenever possible. Spend some time in the shade or throw on a floppy hat to add an extra layer of protection.
If you do end up with a burn this summer, try taking a cool bath or shower and follow up with soothing moisturizers or aloe products. Ibuprofen or aspirin can be taken to help with pain, and you’ll want to drink extra water to stay hydrated. Wear loose clothing to avoid irritation and try to remember your sunscreen next time.