Have Fun In The Sun Safely

It’s the perfect time of year for enjoying all your family’s favorite outdoor activities, from picnicking to trying out a new summer sport. But make sure everyone stays safe and healthy by taking a few simple precautions against the season’s sun and heat.

Screen the sun

Protecting yourself against sun exposure requires adequate sunscreen, adequate clothing and adequate hydration. Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30, which offers 97 percent protection against the sun’s dangerous rays. The key is to reapply frequently–at least hourly when you’re in the water or sweating vigorously.

Stay hydrated

Despite the summer heat, it’s important to get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. Staying active outdoors in hot weather is easier if you stick to morning or evening hours when the sun isn’t as strong, keeping your body hydrated with plenty of water. Take frequent water breaks–four to eight ounces every 15 minutes if you’re exercising 90 minutes or longer.

Studies show children will often stay hydrated better with sports drinks because they like the color and sugar, but experts recommend offering these drinks sparingly to steer clear of cavities.

Try something new

If you’re having trouble prying everyone away from the TV, why not entice them outdoors with some new and adventurous activities this summer? Wakeboarding, for example, is a hybrid of surfing, snowboarding and waterskiing where riders are towed behind a boat on a specially designed “wakeboard.” Or how about kite boarding, where participants are towed by a large kite rather than a boat?

Pack a safe picnic

Summer is prime time for picnics, and picnics are prime targets for food borne illness. But don’t blame the mayonnaise in the potato salad: Lack of hand washing among food preparers is a more common cause of problems. Of course, it’s also crucial to keep cold foods cold in a refrigerator or insulated cooler right up until serving time. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that foods stay out at room temperature no longer than an hour in hot weather.