Picture this: you’re getting some much needed rest and relaxation during a hard-earned vacation when it hits you – the searing pain of sunburn. Now you’re stuck inside, covered in aloe, and feeling miserable while the rest of your gang enjoying the nice Florida weather outside.
You might associate sunburns with trips to the beach, but the sun’s UV rays can affect you whether you’re golfing in Ponte Vedra Beach or hopping between restaurants in Jacksonville Beach. UV rays even shine through clouds, so preparation is important even if it’s overcast! Keep the Seven S’s of Sun Safety tips in mind to ensure your next vacation is sunburn-free, and to prevent future health problems caused by too much sun exposure.
During the summer months in Florida, the sun is most intense between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Try avoiding too much exposure during these peak hours by seeking shade. You can bring a beach umbrella to have lunch and build sand castles under. Find a shady spot under a tree, take a break in a gazebo or other sheltered spot near your oceanfront rental, or plan your activities so that you’re indoors during the hottest part of the day. Encourage your children to take breaks throughout the day as well. Heat exhaustion can be prevented by sitting down in a cool, shady spot between rounds of golf, breaks in beach volleyball, and rides on the waves.
Be aware of surfaces that tend to reflect the sun, as they can hit you and your family with UV rays from below in addition to the ones from above. Sand, water, and concrete are especially reflective of the sun, so take breaks often and keep covered up when you can. Make sure to also apply sunscreen where the sun will be reflected upward. Think the underside of your nose, and even under shorts and skirts.
Wearing a hat with a brim does wonders for keeping harmful UV rays off your face. Wearing a wide-brim hat that also shades the neck and shoulders is even better. Hats are also a great option because you never have to reapply like sunscreen!
Overexposure to UV rays can lead to cataracts and other eye problems later in life. Prevent potential problems and keep your family from squinting too much by wearing sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays. Wrap-around glasses are even more effective by blocking UV rays from the side. Think of all the stylish pairs of sunglasses you now have an excuse to purchase prior to your trip!
It may seem counterintuitive to wear long sleeves during the summer, but covering up with clothing is an easy sun safety tip. UV rays can’t get to your child’s skin through clothing. Wear a rash guard when swimming, and consider long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and skirts whenever practical. Even a short-sleeve t-shirt or cover-up provides sun protection for your loved ones. When using clothes to protect yourself from the sun, wear lighter shades that won’t absorb the heat. There’s a reason “resort wear” conjures up images of neutral shades of light linen shirts and pants.
Lather up with an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen at least 15 minutes before leaving your beach rental, hotel room, or vacation home. Take care to cover surfaces that are easily overlooked, such as the part in your children’s hair, tops of ears, the back of the neck, and tops of feet. Sunscreen fades away from sweating, swimming, and toweling off, so reapply every two hours while you’re out. If the kids are avoiding sunscreen, you can always try different colored zinc options to make it fun!
Stay hydrated. Sipping water throughout the day helps your family stay healthy and energized while preventing the dangerous effects of heat exhaustion and dehydration. A general rule of thumb is to drink before you feel thirsty so your body always has plenty of water for happy, healthy vacation days in the sun.