By Melissa Lafrance on June 8, 2016
Save Your Skin Foundation’s National Sun Awareness Week is June 6 – 12. It is designed to highlight the dangers of over-exposure to the sun and to promote safe behaviours. Summer is here and so are the beautiful sun-shining days! Take this time to learn about staying hydrated, sun safety tips, and vitamin D. Keep on shining!
Stay Hydrated – How much water should you be drinking?
To keep your body hydrated, aim for a daily fluid intake of about 2 – 3 litres (9 – 12 cups) per day, based on your body size and activity level.
When you are more active, and the weather is hotter, you will need to increase your intake. Learn about sports hydration here.
Water is one of the best fluid choices, but you can also drink other beverages such as milk, juice, broth/soups, coffee and tea.
Signs of Dehydration
- Dry lips and mouth
- Flushed skin
- Headache, dizziness, fainting
- Low blood pressure, increase in heart rate
- Dark, strong smelling urine
If you feel any of these dehydration symptoms, do the following:
- Stop your activity and rest
- Get out of direct sunlight and find a cooler spot if possible
- Prop up your feet and take off unnecessary clothing
- Drink a rehydration drink:
- Combine 1 cup of juice (preferably apple), 2 cups of water, pinch of salt
- Sports drink will also work
Maximizing Your Vitamin D from Safe Sun Exposure & Diet
We get vitamin D from three sources; synthesis by the skin following exposure to sunlight; eating foods that contain vitamin D; and taking vitamin D supplements. Ultraviolet B (UVB) is the portion of sunlight that stimulates human skin to produce vitamin D. However, UVB rays are also the major cause of sunburns and can increase the risk of developing skin cancer.
The good news is that you don’t need to tan to get benefits from the sun. The amount of sun exposure needed to produce enough vitamin D depends on age, diet, skin colour, where you live, and how strong the sun is. For most people, just a few minutes in the sun every day during summer months will be enough.
Six Steps to Protect your Skin
I’m sure most of us have experienced sunburn at some point and we know, it’s not nice. To avoid the discomfort and minimize your risk of skin cancer, practice these tips!
- Avoid sun burning, intentional tanning, and using tanning beds.
- Use sunscreen properly.
Sunscreens are rated by the strength of their SPF. The SPF tells you the product’s ability to screen or block out the sun’s UVB rays. Use SPF 30 or higher that is labelled broad-spectrum and use a lipbalm with SPF.
Don’t forget your ears, neck, tops of your feet and any bald spots!
- Wear sun-protective clothing, wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses.
One of the best ways to protect yourself from the sun is to cover up. Make sure you choose close-fitting sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection in a wraparound style.
- Check the UV Index and plan accordingly.
On days when the UV reaches 3 (moderate) or higher, you need to be diligent in protecting your skin, face, and eyes. In Canada between April and September, the UV Index can be 3 or more from 11am – 3pm, even when it’s cloudy.
- Seek shade.
If your shadow is shorter than you, it’s time to find some shade. Seek shade especially between 11am – 3pm.
- Use extra caution near water, snow, and sand. The rays reflect!
- Get vitamin D from your diet first and vitamin D supplements.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that can be stored in the body. We all need adequate vitamin D from our diet to help our bodies absorb and use calcium and phosphorous for strong bones and teeth as well as reduce the risk of osteoporosis and certain cancers. Learn more about vitamin D and rich food sources.
Want to know more?
- Summer is Coming – June 2015 Healthy UBC Newsletter article
- How to Pick the Right Suncreen – and Use it Properly – Tips from Sunil Kalia, UBC Assistant Professor of Dermatology and Skin Science
- Sun Safety Tips for Parents – tip sheet for parents
- Sun Sensitivity Test – quick survey tool
- Extreme Heat/Heat Waves – detailed safety tips
By Colin Hearne on July 3, 2014
Summer is the time when the outdoors beckons; we go to the beach in droves, have picnics, barbecues, paddle , fish and swim. Some hike, others bike, and many do both .But these good times in the outdoors are really an exception to the rule. The reality is most of us spend the vast majority of our time inside – with one estimate, reporting that the average North American spends 90% of his or her life inside. So with July in full swing, lets remind ourselves that being outdoors can be amazing – Here are five potential benefits of spending more time outdoors:
Your vitamin D levels will go up
Vitamin D is called the sunshine vitamin because sunlight hitting the skin begins the circuitous process that eventually leads to the creation of the biologically active form of the vitamin. Over all, research is showing that many vitamins, while necessary, don’t have such great disease-fighting powers, but vitamin D may prove to be the exception. Epidemiologic studies are suggesting it may have protective effects against everything from osteoporosis to cancer to depression to heart attacks and stroke. More answers may come from randomized trials, such as the VITamin D and OmegA-3 TriaL (VITAL), which will enroll 20,000 healthy men and women to see if taking 2,000 IU of vitamin D or 1,000 mg of fish oil daily lowers the risk of cancer, heart disease, and stroke. In the meantime the good news is that you’ll make all the vitamin D you need if you get outside a few times a week during these summer days and expose your arms and legs for 10 to 15 minutes. Of course, it has to be sunny out.
You’ll get more exercise
You don’t need to be outside to be active: millions of people exercise indoors in gyms or at home on treadmills and elliptical trainers. Still, there’s no question that indoor living is associated with being sedentary while being outdoors is associated with activity. According to Canadian broadcast measurement and consumer behaviour data, Numeris, The average Canadian adult may watch 30 hours of television a week – time that is spent mainly indoors and sitting down. Adults can go to the gym. Many prefer the controlled environment there. But if you make getting outside a goal, that should mean less time in front of the television and computer and more time walking, biking, gardening, cleaning up the yard, and doing other things that put the body in motion.
You’ll be happier
UBC Psychology professor Mark Holder leads a research team that identifies factors that contribute to happiness in children such as temperament, social relations, and spirituality. His team also investigates strategies to enhance happiness in adults. According to Dr Holder ‘There is no one-size-fits-all strategy. What makes one person happy may not work for another person. However, those who are happier are people who interact with and appreciate beauty in nature; people who exercise, volunteer, and have hobbies’. Additionally, researchers at the University of Essex in England are advancing the notion that exercising in the presence of nature has added benefit, particularly for mental health. Their investigations into “green exercise,” as they are calling it, dovetails with research showing benefits from living in proximity to green, open spaces. In 2010 the English scientists reported results from a meta-analysis of their own studies that showed just five minutes of green exercise resulted in improvements in self-esteem and mood.
Your concentration will improve
Researchers have, in fact, reported that children with ADHD seem to focus better after being outdoors. Researchers from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, found that children with ADHD scored higher on a test of concentration after a walk through a park than after a walk through a residential neighborhood or downtown area.
You may heal faster
University of Pittsburgh researchers reported in 2005 that spinal surgery patients experienced less pain and stress and took fewer pain medications during their recoveries if they were exposed to natural light. This is now also being addressed with the popularity of hospital gardens. Dismissed as peripheral to medical treatment for much of the 20th century, gardens are back in style, now featured in the design of most new hospitals. Much of this popularity has emerged from the research of psychologist Roger Ulrich, from the Texas A&M University. Ulrich and his team reviewed the medical records of people recovering from gallbladder surgery at a suburban Pennsylvania hospital. He found that patients with bedside windows looking out on leafy trees healed, on average, a day faster, needed significantly less pain medication and had fewer postsurgical complications than patients who instead saw a brick wall.
Your healthy outdoor lifestyle starts here! Attend a guided tour of UBC’s Botanical Gardens on July 20 @ 12.30pm. Click here for more information