The days feel like they have doubled in length and the sun seems to stick around from early morning to late at night. Spring is definitely here, and summer is well on its way – deservedly so after a mild, but seemingly sunless winter.
Although we openly embrace the brilliance, warmth and energy of the sun, as with most things in life, there can be too much of a good thing. The sun does provide us with many health benefits – well, to be frank, we wouldn’t exist without the sun – but as we also know, precautions do need to be taken to prevent serious health damage related to sun exposure.
The sun is involved in producing certain compounds in our body that provide us with health benefits. The sun’s ultraviolet-B rays activate the formation of vitamin D in our body. This vitamin regulates the metabolism of phosphorus and calcium, both of which help strengthen our bones and teeth. Lack of adequate sunlight can lead to vitamin D-related conditions such as rickets, heart disease and osteoporosis.
But don’t use this as an excuse to bathe in the sun for hours! Skin cancers have become so common with the depletion of the ozone and our overexposure to UV rays. Ensure you keep sun exposure to a minimum, and wear at least SPF-30 sunscreen on your exposed skin including your lips.
Heat stroke is essentially overheating of the body and is the result of a failure of thermoregulation. This can easily be brought on by intensive exercise, particularly in the heat of the sun. Symptoms usually include a noticeable decrease in perspiration, onset of altered consciousness, prostration, flushed and dry skin, increased heart rate and dehydration. To prevent heat stroke, ensure that you are getting plenty of electrolytes, rest often in the shade, wear a wide-brimmed hat and douse your head in cool water. For an easy and effective electrolyte drink – without artificial colours and additives like many of the commercially available-brands – try the following recipe:
Natural Electrolyte Recipe
(makes 1 litre of electrolyte solution)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
4 tsp honey or maple syrup
4 tsp lemon juice
1 liter water
Definitely enjoy the summer, but take precautions to prevent potentially fatal health conditions from occurring.
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