July 16, 2007

Protect Yourself from the Summer Sun

Summer brings longer, hotter days, more sunshine and a renewed focus on sun protection. As you know ... ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can damage unprotected skin and lead to serious health effects, including skin cancer. People with lupus have extra reasons to take precautions.

How to Protect Yourself

  • The most effective way is to avoid sun exposure as much as possible, especially midday (approximately 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) when UV rays are strongest.

  • Don’t let your guard down on overcast days. UV rays can penetrate clouds. Get in the habit of putting sunscreen on every morning, regardless of how the weather looks.

  • Covering up is a good way to protect yourself. Adequately protective clothing can be effective. To ensure you’re protected, add high-necked shirts with long sleeves to your wardrobe. Apply sunscreen to skin that’s still exposed.

  • Sunscreen comes in many forms. Whatever you use, apply it liberally and throw out expired products. To ensure adequate protection, buy the strongest sunscreen available and apply a "reasonably thick" layer at least 20 minutes before you go outside. Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, especially after sweating, swimming or rubbing your skin with a towel.

adapted from Playing it Safe in the Sun, Summer 2007 Lupus Now

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