Protection from the Sun and Prevention from Dryness

Protection from the Sun

Protection from harmful sun rays is a major concern for many, especially during the summer season when temperatures rise, and the sun dominates the sky for most hours of the day. In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Arab world, we associate summer with vacations, the sun, the sea, and trips. Therefore, it is important to take precautions against harmful sun rays and adhere to certain rules when exposed to the sun. Increasing water intake is also crucial to combat the various damages caused by the sun. We will discuss these damages and provide several solutions to help you protect yourself from the sun during the summer season.

Why it is necessary to follow sun protection measures:.

  • The sun is crucial for humans, and without it, life would not exist on the Earth’s surface. Despite its vitality and significant importance to human health and overall well-being, the sun emits rays that pose a threat to our health.
  • Sun rays consist of several types of radiation: gamma rays, infrared rays, ultraviolet rays, X-rays, and the visible light that the eye perceives.
  • The rays with the most critical impact on the body are ultraviolet rays (UV), constituting 8% of all sunlight.

The damages from these rays can lead to the onset of symptoms such as:

  • Spots on the skin
  • Sunburn
  • Skin aging and wrinkles
  • Dryness
  • Reduced production of Vitamin D, increasing the risk of kidney stone formation
  • Cataracts in the eyes
  • Pre-cancerous injuries
  • Despite all the mentioned harms, the sun has positive effects that should not be overlooked. Therefore, complete avoidance of sun exposure is not feasible. However, protective measures can be taken to ensure protection from harmful sun rays and to benefit from them, allowing enjoyment of the summer season.

Which groups are most susceptible to sun rays?

  • The risk of sun exposure increases during peak daylight hours when the sun is directly overhead, although the extent of damage varies from person to person.
  • While it is crucial for everyone to follow sun protection measures, certain groups may be more affected than others, including:
  • Individuals with fair skin
  • Those prone to sunburn
  • Blondes and individuals with colored eyes
  • People with a high number of moles
  • Children
  • The elderly
  • Individuals taking medications that increase sun sensitivity
  • Athletes training in the sun
  • Outdoor workers (guards, fishermen, farmers, construction workers, etc.).
  • Despite this, we emphasize the importance of all groups following protective measures when directly exposed to sunlight.

How to Protect Yourself from Sun Rays

  • Sun protection is crucial throughout the year, not only in summer and not just at the seaside. It is not limited to adults but also extends to children.
  • Ultraviolet rays from the sun reach you on cloudy and dusty days as well as on clear, sunny days. Additionally, UV rays reflect from surfaces like water, concrete, sand, and snow. This means that sun protection is necessary not only in the summer but all year round.
  • Artificial tanning (on a tanning bed, in a tanning booth, or using a tanning lamp) exposes users to ultraviolet rays.
  • Here are several tips on protecting yourself from harmful sun rays:

Seek shade, especially during midday hours:

Staying in the shade, under an umbrella, tree, or another shelter, can reduce the risk of skin damage and skin cancer. The best way to protect your skin is to use sunscreen or wear protective clothing when outdoors, even in the shade.

Wear protective clothing:

Loose-fitting long-sleeved shirts made of dense fabric provide better protection against UV rays. Wet clothing offers less protection compared to dry clothing, and dark colors generally offer more protection than light colors.

If wearing such clothing is impractical, at least try to wear a shirt or swimwear. Keep in mind that the sun protection factor (SPF) for regular clothing is less than 15, so other protective measures should also be used.

Don a wide-brimmed hat:

Wear a hat with a broad brim that shades the face, head, ears, and the back of the neck.

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For maximum protection, wear a wide-brimmed hat that shades your face, ears, and the back of your neck.

Dense fabrics, such as canvas, are best for protecting the skin from ultraviolet rays

Avoid using straw hats with holes that allow sunlight to penetrate

A dark-colored hat provides better protection against UV rays

If you wear a sun visor or cap, make sure to also protect your ears and the back of your neck with clothing covering these areas

Visit AdVesto, the adventurers’ store, to explore a range of distinctive hats that contribute to sun protection

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Sunglasses protect the eyes from ultraviolet rays and reduce the risk of cataract formation (white water). They also safeguard the sensitive skin around the eyes from the dangers of the sun.

Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays are the best for sun protection. Wraparound sunglasses are particularly effective as they prevent UV rays from penetrating from the sides.

Use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 – 50 (SPF below 15 is not effective), providing protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

Apply the sunscreen to all exposed areas of the skin – it is important to reach all areas of the body and not leave any areas uncovered (such as the neck, shoulders, and back).

Apply the sunscreen about 15 – 30 minutes before going out in the sun, as it takes time for the substance to be absorbed into the skin and take effect. We recommend reapplying the sunscreen each time before entering the water and afterward.

Reapply the sunscreen every 40 – 80 minutes.

Avoid artificial tanning.

How Sunscreen Contributes to Sun Protection

Ultraviolet rays from the sun can cause skin damage in just 15 minutes. Apply sunscreen before going out, even on slightly cloudy or cool days. Ensure a thick layer is applied to all exposed areas of the skin. Ask someone to help with hard-to-reach areas.

Most sunscreens work by absorbing, reflecting, or dispersing sunlight and contain chemicals that react with the skin to protect it from ultraviolet rays. The compounds in sunscreens are not identical in all products. If the skin reacts poorly to one product, try another or consult a doctor.

Sun Protection Factor (SPF): Sunscreens are assigned a number indicating the sun protection factor (SPF), reflecting their effectiveness in blocking ultraviolet rays. The higher the number, the better the protection. Use sunscreens with an SPF of at least 15.

Reapplication: Sunscreen loses effectiveness over time. Reapply if you have been in the sun for more than two hours, after swimming, or sweating.

Expiration Date: Check the expiration date of the sunscreen. The shelf life of sunscreen on the shelf without an expiration date is at most three years, but this duration shortens if exposed to high temperatures.

Cosmetics: Some cosmetics and moisturizing lipsticks contain chemicals found in sunscreens. If they do not have an SPF of at least 15, do not use them as sun protection.

Dehydration and Sun Protection

One common risk in summer is dehydration, resulting from a breakdown in the body’s fluid balance. Dehydration generally occurs during continuous physical activity when fluid loss from the body, especially through sweating, exceeds fluid intake.

Every 2% increase in fluid loss beyond body weight leads to a decline in functional and cognitive performance. A loss exceeding 5% reduces sweating rates, decreases blood flow to the skin, and impairs the ability to distribute accumulated heat in the body. A fluid deficit of 6-10% of body weight reduces endurance during physical activity by reducing heart rate, sweat production, and blood flow to the skin and muscles.

Water Consumption as Sun Protection

Regular and adequate water consumption directly protects the body from dehydration resulting from sun exposure. Drinking water is a key element in protecting the body from the effects of the sun.

Therefore, the keyword during the summer is water consumption. Thirst is a mechanism that protects our body. However, this mechanism is not sensitive enough, so it is possible for the body to start losing water before feeling thirsty. In healthy individuals, urine color can serve as a gauge for checking fluid balance. Very light-colored urine indicates adequate water consumption, while dark-colored urine signals the need for water.

As a rule, we recommend increasing water consumption and preferring water over sweetened beverages. Coffee and tea contain caffeine, a diuretic substance (the effect is related to the concentration of the beverage). However, they still contribute to overall fluid intake, especially with the commonly moderate concentration in general beverages.

*It is essential to monitor total fluid intake throughout the day. Here are the recommended quantities:

These recommendations apply to ordinary conditions. In hot climates, during physical activity, and when ill, fluid requirements may increase

Daily Recommended Fluid Intake:

For women: 8-10 cups

For men: 10-12 cups

For children (based on age):

Children from 1 to 3 years: 0.9 liters (4 cups)

Children from 4 to 8 years: 1.2 liters (5 cups)

Boys and girls aged 9 to 13:

Boys: 1.8 liters (8 cups)

Girls: 1.6 liters (7 cups)

Boys and girls aged 14 to 18:

Boys: 2.6 liters (11 cups)

Girls: 1.8 liters (8 cups)

These recommendations are based on the daily fluid intake guidelines set by the Food and Nutrition Committee of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States.

One of the central causes of dehydration is a condition called “voluntary dehydration.” Several studies have shown that individuals engaged in physical activity in hot climates, who can drink water freely, consume only about 50% of the fluid they lose through sweating. “Voluntary dehydration” becomes more pronounced when water is unavailable, hot, salty, or has an unpleasant taste. Therefore, to avoid dehydration, it is essential to plan in advance the amount of fluids needed to replenish the body during various activities, ensuring that the drinking quantity is appropriate for the fluid lost through sweating.

Degrees of Dehydration

Mild Dehydration (up to 2%): Thirst, redness in the face, nausea, rapid pulse, discomfort, nervousness, and a general decline in performance.

Moderate Dehydration (3-5%): Dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, weakness, shortness of breath, rapid pulse, and severe fatigue.

Severe Dehydration (6-10%): Severe cognitive impairment, visual and auditory disturbances, hallucinations.

It is essential to note that dehydration can also occur due to an illness accompanied by conditions such as diarrhea and vomiting, which are other ways of losing fluids from the body.

Treatment of Dehydration

The main treatment is to move the affected person to a shaded area, on a cool surface, and cease all strenuous activity. Treatment depends on the degree of dehydration:

Mild Dehydration: Give the affected person fluids to drink gradually

Moderate Dehydration: In cases of nausea, vomiting, and confusion, intravenous fluid administration is needed

Severe Dehydration: Urgent fluid transfer and rapid transport to the emergency department.

Heat Stroke (Sunstroke)

A direct consequence of not following sun protection measures is heat stroke, an extreme and dangerous condition where the body produces excessive heat due to a problem in the body’s heat control system. Heat stroke can occur even if a person drinks a lot of water.

There are two types of heat stroke

Classic Heat Stroke: Occurs in groups such as the elderly, children, and individuals with chronic problems or those taking various medications, who have difficulty controlling body temperature and are affected by a sudden rise in the external temperature. It often occurs during a heatwave. Additionally, cases are reported annually where children are forgotten in closed cars, leading to heat stroke and death.

Exertional Heat Stroke: Mainly occurs in healthy individuals and even in young people who engage in physically demanding activities in extremely hot and humid environments. Individuals using medications, stimulants, or drugs are more susceptible.

Signs of Heat Stroke:

In many cases, the affected person may experience sudden unconsciousness. Early signs include dizziness, extreme weakness, hallucinations, instability, seizures, speech disturbances, profuse sweating, confusion, elevated heart rate, and respiratory rate.

Treatment of Heat Stroke

In both cases, it is crucial to seek medical help as quickly as possible! Until the person is evacuated

Ensure they can breathe properly.

If the person is conscious, slightly tilt their head back to open the airway or direct air towards them.

In case of unconsciousness, perform artificial respiration by a qualified person.

Move the person to a cool, shaded place, remove their hot clothes, and pour liters of water over their body. Cooling the person by pouring a large amount of water, directing air to their body, and placing them on a non-hot surface can lead to recovery in less than an hour.

If a qualified person is present, consider subjecting the affected person to fluid transfer.

Do not administer medications to reduce their body temperature.

Remember: Enjoy the sun and take care of your health

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