It's August and it's hot. It's supposed to be hot. But it might rain, too. It is the monsoon season, after all.
So, what's a body to do?
First, make sure you are liberal with the sunscreen. Because of our elevation and the openness of the Payson Event Center, sunscreen or sunblock should have a protection factor of at least 15. Look for one that contains moisturizers that will combat the drying effects of the sun and wind. Reapply frequently, especially after perspiring heavily.
Second, wear a good hat. Ball caps are fine, but don't provide much protection for the back of your neck and the top of your ears, so a cowboy hat is better.
Third, eyelids can sunburn, too, so make sure you wear sunglasses with UV-blocking lenses that are large enough to give some protection to the sensitive skin around your eyes.
Long-sleeved shirts are required inside the arena, but spectators can bare their arms and shoulders if they so desire. However, a light-weight, long-sleeved shirt offers some protection from the sun. Remember to protect your legs and feet as well.
The sun is strongest between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. The consumption of alcohol accelerates dehydration. Water, iced-tea and lemonade are the better thirst quenchers.
Disregarding health advisories about the sun can be very dangerous.
Each year, 1 million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the United States alone, making skin cancer the most common form of cancer in the country.
What's more, better than 90 percent of those cases stem from overexposure to the sun. That only adds to the importance of exercising caution and heeding the Skin Cancer Foundation's advice when heading outside.
- Whenever outdoors during the hottest hours, seek out the shaded areas or create your own shade, using umbrellas and/or wide-brimmed hats.
- Cover up. Sunburns don't only come in the peak of the beach season. Rather, many people suffer sunburns in spring, fall and even winter. That's potentially very dangerous, as the Skin Cancer Foundation notes that a person's risk for skin cancer doubles when they have had five or more sunburns. Just because the temperature outside may have dropped due to a monsoon storm, that doesn't make the sun's rays any less harmful. Check the UV rating on a daily basis as well.
- Keep kids covered. Newborns have particularly sensitive skin and should never be exposed to the sun. Once a child has reached the age of six months, apply sunscreen with a minimum SPF (sun-protection factor) of 15 before going out in the sun. Parents should strongly consider sunscreen with an SPF higher than 15 for young children as well.
- Get checked. Like any form of cancer, how early skin cancer is detected can determine how effective treatment can be. If you spend significant time out in the sun each year, be it in spring, fall, summer or winter, make sure to make an annual visit to your physician for a skin exam. While you should examine your skin for moles or other signs each month, your physician will know better than anyone what to look for.
To learn more about skin care, visit the Skin Cancer Foundation Web site at www.skincancer.org.