Too Much UV Light Is Unhealthy!

Between May and September, it shines particularly brightly in our latitudes. The sun is an everyday companion that is of immense importance for human well-being. It partly controls our neurotransmitter and hormone balance. That’s why some people don’t feel so well during the darker months.

But the sun also harbors dangers. Too little of it makes you sick. Too much, however, does as well. Especially in recent years, the sun has become very aggressive during the summer months. The UV light it emits can cause burns, skin diseases, and, in the worst case, even skin cancer. Unprotected eyes also suffer from direct sunlight.

Therefore, you should protect yourself as much as possible in order to be able to enjoy the warming power of the sun without hesitation. To this end, we would like to give you a number of tips for your next summer vacation.

This Is How You Can Protect Yourself

Clothing

Our clothing is the most important barrier against too much sunlight. The following applies: If the fabric is particularly tightly woven, it offers good protection. This means that the sun cannot penetrate as easily. Although lightweight fabrics are pleasantly airy, they often do not offer sufficient protection.

In addition, you should know that dark clothing protects better than light clothing. Meanwhile, there are even special UV-protective clothing on the textile market. You can find them in sports shops, for example.

The following three labels indicate good UV protection in clothing, caps and the like:

  • Australian-New Zealand standard.
  • UV Standard 801.
  • European standard.

As a general rule, it is advisable to show as little skin as possible in the blazing sun on cloudless days. Despite UV-protected clothing, you should get out of the sun in between and apply sunscreen to your body. You should also try to find a good balance between sun-protective clothing and airy clothing. There’s no point in walking around completely covered if it’s going to give you heatstroke.

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Skin Care Products And Sunscreen

Anyone who is exposed to direct sunlight for a long time should protect exposed parts of the body with sunscreen. Mild sun creams for children are available with a wide variety of sun protection factors. The sun protection factor indicates how well a sunscreen protects against UV radiation. The higher this factor, the better the cream protects. Lighter skin types should use creams with a higher sun protection factor, as they can get sunburned much more quickly than darker skin types.

After sunbathing, it is advisable to moisturize the skin well with a body lotion or similar. This will restore the moisture that the skin urgently needs after sunbathing.

Sunglasses

The UV radiation of the sun is not only a dangerous thing for the skin, which can sometimes even become harmful. Our eyes are also quite sensitive in this respect. Basically, you should therefore never look directly into the sun.

In the more light-intensive months, sunglasses are excellent for protecting the eyes. You should make sure to wear good sunglasses with high UV protection. Ask the dealer whether the sunglasses you want also protect against UV rays. Because not all glasses that look good also work well.

Cap And Co.

Caps, scarves, and the like are suitable for preventing high heat exposure on the head. Especially for longer hikes and sunbathing in direct sunlight, you should not do without them. Otherwise, you run the risk of sunstroke. This can be quite unpleasant due to the associated discomfort.

Well-done: Solarium Tanning Yes Or No?

According to a French-German study, the use of solariums is much riskier than sunbathing in the open air. This is because the risk of skin cancer doubles when you tan in a solarium.

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Unfortunately, far too many minors use a solarium to tan. Actually, the Solarienbetreiber are obligated to forbid the entrance to their devices to young people. Nevertheless, there are always black sheep. The ban of the WHO (that is the World Health Organization), which forbids young people the Solariengang, was not issued without reason. Because according to the WHO, the UV radiation present there is one of the most dangerous, carcinogenic environmental influences for the human body.

Even if you want to be brown, you should not expose your skin to more than 50 sunbaths per year (whether artificial or natural). Many tanning salon operators advertise that you get plenty of healthy vitamin D from going to the tanning salon. This is because the body needs UV light to get vitamin D. What many do not know: To cover the daily requirement, a 20-minute walk (in summer, during the day) is enough.

Therefore, it is absolutely not necessary for young people to go to a solarium! Unless you absolutely want to have sagging, wrinkled skin at the age of 30. This is because sunlight ages our skin. The more we expose ourselves to the sun, the more fatal the effect on our skin health.

First Aid For Sunburn And Sunstroke

Burns Caused By Too Much Sun: Sunburn

Sunburns are mild burns of the skin caused by spending too much time under the sun. Fair-skinned people can get a sunburn faster than darker types. That’s why red-haired kids and teens, in particular, shouldn’t leave the house without sunscreen when the sun is shining. They also need a higher sun protection factor in sunscreens than others.

Sunburn can occur in the following degrees of severity:

  • Grade 1: red, burning skin and possibly itching.
  • Grade 2: Formation of blisters.
  • Grade 3: Destruction of the uppermost skin layer and detachment of the skin.
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What You Can Do Against Sunburn

In the case of first-degree sunburn (see above), the affected skin areas should first be cooled. To do this, use creams and lotions containing water. You should also make sure to drink plenty of fluids (preferably water). Otherwise, sunburn can lead to kidney dysfunction. Relief can also be obtained by applying moist, cool cloths or compresses.

Anything beyond first-degree sunburn should lead to a visit to a dermatologist or a general practitioner (family doctor). He can help you further by giving you information about suitable treatment methods.

In case of third-degree sunburn, it is necessary to go to the hospital. There you will be given fluids via infusion. In addition, the supply of electrolytes, cortisone, and antibiotics is necessary in some cases. The affected skin areas are professionally cooled and cared for. However, sunburns of this type are rare.

Tip on the side: Babies and smaller children must definitely see a doctor if they have a sunburn. The severity of the sunburn does not matter.

Danger Of Sunstroke

Sunstroke occurs when you spend a long time under a high ambient temperature. Especially if you are doing sports, sunstroke can sometimes occur very quickly. The sun’s rays cause irritation of the meninges, which in turn can lead to meningitis (inflammation of the brain). In severe cases, one must expect permanent damage to the brain. Sunstroke is therefore by no means a harmless affair.

This is what sunstroke feels like:

  • Reddened head.
  • Neck pain.
  • Neck stiffness.
  • Headache, dizziness.
  • Nausea, vomiting.
  • Ringing in the ears.
  • Unconsciousness and circulatory collapse.
  • Fever.

Although sunstroke is also caused by excessively high temperatures, it is different from heatstroke. In sunstroke, unlike heat stroke, body temperatures are within the normal range. This is because sunstroke mainly affects the head. Sometimes the above symptoms appear only a few hours after sunbathing.

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Children are more at risk of a sunstroke than adults. This is because the top of their skull is still quite thin and therefore offers little protection from the sun. Very young children also still have little hair to protect them.

When playing outdoors or swimming in the sea or lake, it is easy to forget the time. It can happen that you get sunstroke.

What You Can Do Against Sunstroke

Prevention is the best medicine. Always wear a head covering when you are outside in the midday heat. Especially if you have a short hairstyle, you should follow this rule.

If sunstroke has already occurred, the following first aid measures are available:

  • Get into the shade! Lie flat on the ground. You can put your head a little higher.
  • Cooling is the magic word. Damp cloths or cold compresses on the neck and head bring soothing relief.
  • If your condition worsens, you should call for help. An emergency physician can diagnose the condition and take you to the hospital for further steps.
  • Caring for someone who has sunstroke? Make sure he or she is still conscious. Check to breathe regularly. If your patient loses consciousness, place them in the recovery position. Be sure to call the ambulance or an emergency doctor!

Usually, the discomfort subsides completely within a few days.

Worksheet For The Text

1) Explain the difficult words from the text.
What does…

  • Sun protection factor
  • WHO
  • Meningitis

2) Are kids and teenagers allowed to go to the solarium? Give reasons for your answer!

3) How can you protect yourself against UV radiation from the sun?

4) What should you do if you get a sunburn? Write down what you remembered.

Photo: mangostock / bigstockphoto.com

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