Stay Safe in the Sun this Summer and Avoid Heat Illness

Posted at 3:15 p.m.

It's Hot Outside; Stay Cool and Hydrated

Whether you are playing or working outside this summer, you need to take precautions to stay safe in the sun. As part of our National Safety Month series, Fairfax County’s Risk Management Division and Office of Emergency Management offer these tips.

Be Sun Smart

  • Cover up: Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing and a wide-brim hat, and wear sunglasses that block UV rays. Ideal sunglasses block 99-100 percent of the UV rays (both UVA and UVB).
  • Use Sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher: The number of the SPF represents the level of sunburn protection provided. The sun’s UV rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes. Put on sunscreen before you go outside even on cloudy or cool days. Reapply every two hours or more frequently if you are active and sweating or swimming. Old sunscreens should be thrown away because they lose their potency after one to two years.June is National Safety Month
  • Limit direct exposure:  UV rays are most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Limit time outdoors during these hours and seek shade whenever possible.
  • Drink fluids: Drink plenty of fluids regardless of your activity level. Water or sports beverages are recommended. Stay away from beverages that contain caffeine, alcohol or large quantities of sugar.
  • Stay indoors: Stay in air conditioning in places like your home, or a local shopping center or library. A few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler before you go back into the heat.
  • Check family and friends: Keep an eye on family members, friends and neighbors. Pay close attention and check regularly on young children and those 65 or older. Here are additional sun safety tips for babies and children.

Two types of heat illness

More  information on summer and heat safety is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). You also may want to watch this video from the National Institutes of Health – Protecting Yourself From Skin Cancer. Get a heat safety fact sheet (pictured above) from OSHA, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Spanish verion); more tips on OSHA’s heat safety Web page.

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