The WellSpan Spotlight

Stay cool and safe during the sun’s summer sizzle

Tips for staying safe in the sun this summer

Skin Care, Senior Women, Sunny, Beach, Summer

It is summertime and the living is hot, sticky, and humid. 

While having fun in the sun, it’s important to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays and heat.

You can enjoy the outdoors with a few safe habits, said Valerie Myers, a WellSpan Urgent Care nurse practitioner. “Most importantly, consider when you go outside. The sun is most damaging during midday hours - between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.”

Choose the right sunscreen

Sunscreen should be worn even on cloudy days. A nickel-size dollop of sunblock should be used for the face, while two tablespoons should cover the rest of your body.

“In choosing a sunscreen, look for something that blocks UVA and UVB rays,” said Myers. “Also, it is important to use sunscreen that has a high sun protection factor (SPF). A rating of 30 is great, 50 is better.”

Here are some more sun safety recommendations.   

  • Reapply sunscreen if you are outside for more than two hours and after swimming, sweating, or drying off.
  • If you are going swimming or sweat a lot, use water-resistant sunscreen.
  • Check the expiration date on the sunscreen. The ingredients may not work as they should after the expiration date.
  • If your skin is sensitive, use a sunscreen that is free of chemicals, para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), preservatives, perfumes, and alcohol.
  • Use lip balm or cream that has an SPF of 30 or higher to protect your lips from getting sunburned.

Accessorize like a pro


  • When possible, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, or skirts, which can provide protection from the sun’s powerful ultraviolet (UV) rays.
  • Darker colors may offer more protection than lighter colors and UV rays are less likely to reach your skin. Some clothing, or sunscreen clothing, is certified as offering UV protection.


  • For the most sun protection, wear a hat with a brim all the way around that shades your face, ears, and the back of your neck.
  • A tightly woven fabric, like canvas, works best. Avoid straw hats with holes that let in sunlight.
  • If you wear a baseball cap, protect your ears and the back of your neck with clothing that covers those areas, use sunscreen, or stay in the shade.


  • When selecting your summer eyewear, look for sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays. Sunglasses also help protect the tender skin around your eyes from sun exposure.
  • Wraparound sunglasses work best because they block UV rays from sneaking in from the side.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

The sun’s heat can cause heat-related illnesses. Stay cool by staying hydrated. 

“Drinking enough water in the summer months is the best way to prevent dehydration,” said Myers.  “Adults should try to drink six to eight 8-ounce cups of water every day.  On a hot summer day, you should try to drink fluids every 15 to 20 minutes.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dehydration can cause unclear thinking, mood swings, overheating, constipation, and kidney stones.  

“It is also important to be aware of your medications,” added Myers. “Some antibiotics, allergy medications, beta-blockers, seizure medications, diuretics, laxatives, some diet pills, and ADD medications could actually put you at more risk for heat-related illness.” 

A few things to consider when you wet your whistle:

  • Low or no-calorie beverages like plain coffee, tea, and seltzers are low-calorie choices that can be included in a healthy diet.  
  • Fitness waters can replace electrolytes that your body loses when you sweat.
  • Refrain from sugary sodas, juices, and sports drinks. 
  • If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation, or alternate it with an equal amount of water.  

Too much sun in the fun? Find a WellSpan Urgent Care location near you for treatment of patients age 3 months and older. WellSpan Urgent Care - WellSpan Health