Sunshine can be wonderful… Some warmth, Vitamin D is produced, flowers and plants begin to bloom… There can be a lot of benefits to there warmer season approaching. There can also be some pitfalls, and one needs to be aware of the requirements to enjoying the sunny outdoors without getting burned! I’m no fan of extreme heat, but even I can enjoy a sunny afternoon, albeit in the shade. In recent days, the temperatures in Regina, Saskatchewan have reached the mid to high 20’s, even reaching the high 30’s on the Celsius scale. It’s made for some dangerously high temperatures leading to several heat warnings for my area.
With those high temperatures, there are a number of things you should bear in mind before venturing out into the heat. Especially if you’ll be working out or exercising. And ESPECIALLY if you have Diabetes. Different people will have different reactions. In my case, being out in the extreme heat for too long tends to make my blood sugars drop. A doctor once told me its because my body is working harder to lower my core temp and as a result, my system works harder. Maybe so, but I remain skeptical. I’ve been in high temperatures on enough occasions where nothing’s happened to my blood sugars to convince that may not be the case.
But dehydration can be a very real thing, and it can sneak up on you if you aren’t careful. This can be the case whether you have Diabetes or not. Keeping a water bottle and consistently sipping water throughout the day can help to prevent dehydration and will help to regulate your body’s core temperature during your time outdoors. It can also help prevent nasty conditions, such as heat stroke.
Make sure you wear a hat, loose-fitting clothing that allow the expulsion and venting of heat and apply healthy doses of sunscreen to prevent sunburning. The sun emits ultraviolet rays, which can cause damage to living tissue after prolonged exposure, as well as being linked to skin cancer and a whole bunch of other nasty conditions. thesis the same celestial body that’s responsible for all life of Earth. Ironic, isn’t it? The same thing that’s responsible for our survival can also be deadly, after too much exposure. Such is the balance of life.
This is where sunblock comes in. Sunblock is defined as a gel or topical ointment that helps by reflecting UV rays away from the flesh, which prevents sunburns. You should always apply a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher, before stepping out into the sun. In Canada, I’ve never seen anything lower than 15 and nothing higher than 50. When I visited Okinawa, they actually had some SPF 110 and they apologized for not having anything stronger as we were there in october and it was “off season.” Wow. 110, and they had nothing stronger.
I’ve read some articles that have explained that anything more than SPF 30 to 45 doesn’t offer any ADDED protection and should be reapplied just as often. And to clarify, SPF stand for Sun Protection Factor and is a multiplier to how long you can be in the sun’s light. So, if you step outside and you’d get a sunburn in 10 minutes, and SPF 15 allows you to be out in the sunlight for 150 minutes before needing to reapply. This is theoretical and like all things in life, is dependent on the person in question. If I were to burn in 10 minutes and apply and SPF 110, I find it hard to believe that I could spend 18 hours in the sun before needing to reapply.
Men’s Health has a pretty decent article about how much sunblock you should be applying. The takeaway is to ensure that you apply liberal amounts and be sure to cover all the areas of exposed flesh. Most people tend to dab some on, here and there. You want to make certain you spread your sunblock on evenly and properly. And if you use a spray sunblock, make sure you spray uniformly and evenly, to ensure you prevent UV damage to any areas of your skin. As per my usual preaching, drink plenty of fluids and test your blood sugars often. It can mean the difference between maintaining proper health during the summer months or succumbing to the hotter weather. ☯