.....just the other day, summer, finally arrived in The Netherlands. Everyone seems to be over excited and happy, including me (yey !!!) as I am such a solar person and also because I lived for 33 years in Romania,where summer lasts for 4 months and the temperatures can reach 48 °C.
Yesterday morning all I wanted to do was going to the beach, but it was only Thursday and I had to work :( S0, in the train, on my way to Amsterdam, I was feeling jealous of everyone else who was heading over to the beach to enjoy a sea breeze and get a tan, really jealous and a bit frustrated. The weather was so perfect for something like this !
On the way back, in the early evening, more than half of the people in the train were sunburned, both adults and teens. We love to get a tan, but is it really worth it ?
A sunburn is a form of radiation burn that affects living tissues suck as skin, but also eyes and it results from an overexposure to sun UV radiation. Common symptoms in humans and also animals include red skin that feels hot to the touch, pain, general fatigue and also mild dizziness. I also had to mention animals, because we love taking our dogs to the beach, don't we ?
Anyway, that morning , before I left,I checked the UV Index , as I knew I would probably spend some time outdoor, in the sun. It reached 7 around noon, for The Netherlands, Spain , Romania, Belgium and 10 for Germany. Is that bad ?
The Ultraviolet Index or UV Index is an international standard measurement of the strength of sun burn producing UV radiation at a particular place and time, so you all know what I am talking about here.
The purpose of this UV Index and of my "boring " article is to help people effectively protect themselves from UV radiation, which it does have health benefits in moderation, but in excess causes sunburn, skin aging, DNA damage, skin cancer, immunosuppression and also eye damage.
Whenever you spend substantial time outdoor and the UV Index is already 3 or higher, you need to take things more serious and protect yourself.
Between 3-5.9 the risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure is moderate but it can still cause sun burns on people with fair skin tone and you should still avoid the solar noon (midday).
Between 6-7.9 the risk of sun burns is already high and you must reduce time spent outdoor in the sun within 3 hours of solar noon, when sun is overheated. In this case you must cover your body with sun protective clothing, use SPF 30+, wear a hat, sunglasses and seek for shade.
When UV Index is 8-10.9 the sun burn risk is very high and if it reach 11 +, the radiations become extreme for the human skin.
How do you find out how high is the UV Index? Well, is very simple, as nowadays we have an app for everything! I usually look on www.temis.nl but also www.weeronline.nl
The incidence of melanoma, the most lethal form of skin cancer, has increased. Even if the UV radiation is the best natural source of vitamin D, is still a major cause of skin cancer. Moderate and gradual sun tanning without burning will increase the amount of Melanin (photoprotective pigment ) that is the natural defense against overexposure, but you have to know that this will still trigger DNA damage.
Also, something that I keep telling to everyone, including my family, the best sun screen protection is achieved by application 15 to 30 minutes before exposure, followed by one reapplication 15 to 30 minutes after exposure begins and with further reapplication after activities such as swimming, sweating or rubbing.
In case of a sunburn, avoid more exposure to the sun while healing and take all the precautions to prevent future burns. Most sunburns heal completely within a few weeks. Home treatments can help you to manage the discomfort or to facilitate the healing process. You can use cool and wet clean cloths on the sunburn area, take frequent cool showers and apply soothing lotions with Aloe Vera. 1% hydrocortisone cream may also help with sunburn pain and swelling. Paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin can help reduce the pain of severe sunburns.
Hopefully you have ( or find ) the time to check the UV Index before you decide to spend the entire day outdoor, at the beach, without SPF or seeking for shade. I know that our Dutch summer is short and we never know when the rain season will start again, but if you decide to enjoy sun, enjoy it smart and safe !