Health

Prevent the Summer Afflictions of Lyme Disease and Acute Sunburn

Sunburn

By Anetta Reszko, M.D.

Sunburn, is a form of radiation burn that results from overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. In addition to skin redness and warmth, severe sunburn may be associated with pain, general fatigue and dizziness. Frequent sunburns and excessive UV radiation cause direct DNA damage and are the primary causes of skin aging, contributing to the development of skin cancers.

The risk of getting a sunburn depends on several factors including:

1. Skin type: People with lighter skin, blue eyes and light/red hair are less likely to tan and more likely to develop sunburn.
2. Time of day: Avoid direct sun exposure during the peak hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
3. Season: The sun is closest to the earth in late spring and early summer and that may contribute to a more severe sunburn.
4. Geographic location: Tropical sites that are closer to the equator have more direct sunlight passing through the atmosphere over the course of a year compared to northern sites.
5. Altitude: Sunburns are more common at a higher altitude because there is less of the earth’s atmosphere to block the sunlight.
6. Exposure to reflective surfaces (water, sand, snow, ice): Reflected sun rays can cause severe sunburns.
7. Presence of overcast/cloud coverage: UV is at least partly blocked by clouds but even on an overcast day, a significant percentage of the sun’s damaging UV radiation can pass through clouds. Don’t forget to wear your sun block even on a cloudy day.

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