LITTLE ROCK You've got a chance to do some fishing, go camping or just roam around in the outdoors. You've got the necessary gear together.
Be sure you take along a hat and adequate sunscreen, advise the personnel of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, who spend much time outside in summer.
Arkansas's summer sun can be brutal right along with benefiting crops, encouraging swimming outings and warming tired bones. The hot sun brings dangers in the form of potential skin cancer and heat exhaustion - two situations no one wants to encourage.
Young, old and in-between Arkansans do not need to risk so much activity in the sun that they become exhausted. Slow down and drink water.
Virtually any liquid can fill the need, but plain, clean water is at the top of the list. Physical activity raises the need for replacing fluids in the body, so don't be stingy with drinking water and other beverages when the weather is hot. Whether your refreshment is iced or cool or even tepid is much a matter of choice, although most medical authorities don't recommend downing large amounts of icy cold beverages when you are extremely hot.
Protection against the sun begins with wearing a hat. This is a vital first step in keeping healthy, as it guards against overheating and overexposure to the sun. The preferred head covering is a hat, not a cap. Although the popular and seen-everywhere ball caps help some, a hat with a full brim will protect the head, face, neck and ears.
Aside from bringing on heat exhaustion, sun on skin can lead to cancer. It can happen to anyone, but dermatologists and scientists can point to groups in our population who are more susceptible than others to skin cancer. Whether you are in a high-risk group or a low-risk category, the potential danger is there, and it's not worth taking a chance.
If you are going to be outside in the prime sunburn hours of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., wear a hat. It will fend off harmful ultraviolet rays and keep you a little cooler.
Liberal use of a good sunscreen on skin is a partner to wearing a head covering. Most medical authorities say that a sun protection f actor (SPF) of at least 15 is needed. Most go on to recommend SPF 30. A wide variety of creams, lotions, oils and gels meeting this requirement are available at drug stores, grocery stores, sporting goods outlets and boat docks.
Take care of kids in your group, keeping in mind that water washes off sun protection. Apply more after you and the kids come out of a swimming spot.
Also keep in mind that water reflects sun. It intensifies the effect of the rays and even brings them up from the water surface to your face that is under a hat.
The essential Arkansas summer precaution strategy is three-phased - drink liquids, cover heads, use sunscreen.
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