VA Maryland Health Care System
Summer Skin Safety Tips
The hazy hot days of summer have arrived! Wherever your plans for the upcoming Independence Day holiday may take you, chances are you will be outdoors at some point. Protect yourself with these tips from Sandy Beam, RN, OCN, Nurse Care Coordinator with the VA Maryland Health Care System Dermatology Clinic:
- Use sunscreen. Choose a product that blocks both UVA and UVB rays with a sun protection factor of 15 or more. Apply it 15-30 minutes before exposure, and reapply frequently.
- Stay hydrated. Aim to drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water each day. Don’t wait until you are thirsty. By then, your body is already dehydrated. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and carbonation—stick with water.
- Seek shelter. Stay in air-conditioned areas when possible. Fans and shade will also help.
- Limit outdoor activity. Keep indoors during the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun is strongest. Plan outdoor activities for the early morning or early evening.
- Bug off. Protect yourself from mosquitos, ticks, and other insects with bug repellent products or devices.
- Cover up: Choose loose, lightweight clothing, wide-brimmed hats and UVA blocking sunglasses which can help reduce damage to your eyes.
- Watch for heat stroke. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience these symptoms: confusion, disorientation, dry skin, excessive tiredness, headache, lethargy, nausea, and a rapid pulse.
- Check your meds: Some medicines can cause side effects like an increased sensitivity to UV rays. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about what you are taking.
- Know your ABC(DE)’s: Be on the lookout for moles that exhibit:
- If notice any suspicious moles, we recommend seeing a dermatologist or contacting your primary care provider by calling the Appointment Center at 410-605-7333.