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How to Stay Safe in the Sun

Did you know that an easily preventable medical issue still manages to harm thousands of seniors every summer? It’s called sunburn – and if you’re a senior, it’s proof that you need to take sun protection seriously. Make a plan for how to stay safe in the sun so that you can keep enjoying everything summer has to offer!

How to Stay Safe in the Sun

For sun-sensitive seniors, sunburns are an extremely common summer injury. Some seniors think they don’t need to worry about things like ultraviolet (UV) damage to their skin as they age. Unfortunately, no matter how old you are, issues like skin cancer and other ailments can crop up if you don’t use sun protection. Whether you have a favorite outdoor hobby or just enjoy an occasional summer outing, it pays to know how to stay safe in the sun.

Understand Your Risk

Did you know that most cases of skin cancer are found in those over the age of 65? As you get older, your skin actually becomes more vulnerable to sun damage, not less. If you’ve never talked to your doctor about sun safety, that’s a great place to start. Your doctor can give you advice based on factors like family-history-related skin risks, your current lifestyle, and the ways different medications affect your sun tolerance.

Dress for Success

When it comes to sun safety, the best defense often comes down to your clothing. On days you know you’ll be spending time in the sun, wear loose layers in light colors that cover as much skin as possible. Complement your outfit with some sun-safe accessories like a sun hat and sunglasses, which can protect the sensitive skin on your face from UV damage. Quality sun-protective clothing will have a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) listed on the label.

Don’t Skip the Sunscreen

Even if you won’t be spending a lot of time in direct sunlight, it’s still a good idea to wear sunscreen every day. An SPF of at least 15 will provide adequate coverage for most, but if you have particularly sensitive skin, ask your doctor what you should purchase. Apply sunscreen any time you leave the house, and be sure to reapply after a couple of hours if you’re still out and about.

Plan to Limit Sun Exposure

Sometimes the best way to stay safe from the sun is to stay in the shade. Try to be in the shade as much as possible on hot and sunny days. You can also plan errands and activities to take place before 10 a.m. or after 2 p.m. if you want to avoid the sun at its daily peak. It’s also important to remember that even a cloudy day doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be exposed to UV rays. If you’ll be outside, even if it’s overcast, try to stay out of the sun as much as possible.

Know the Signs of Heat Illness

One of the dangers of spending time in the sun is overheating. If you’re planning on spending time outdoors this summer, be sure you understand what heat exhaustion and heat stroke look like:

  • Flushed skin and heavy sweating
  • Dizziness, nausea, and headache
  • Rapid breathing or rapid heart rate
  • Quick-onset exhaustion or confusion

Overheating can turn into a medical emergency if not treated quickly, so if you or someone you’re with has any of these issues, seek help right away.


Once you have a plan for how to stay safe in the sun, you’ll be on the road to a happier and healthier summer. Put on some sunscreen and enjoy it!

Are you planning to retire in Greenville, South Carolina? Be sure to check out The Gables on Pelham, a continuing care retirement community that welcomes seniors from all walks of life. We offer flexible and personalized care, including assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing, and rehabilitation. You’ll love our cozy accommodations, fun-filled events calendar, and welcoming community atmosphere. To learn more, please schedule a tour or give us a call at 864-713-1377.