Many of us love to get outside on a sunny summer day. The sun helps our bodies produce vitamin D for health. Sunlight allows photosynthesis in plants which gives them life, and in turn, gives us oxygen. We benefit from the sun's energy; however, that energy can also be dangerous. Ultra-violet radiation from the sun is what causes tanning. Too much exposure to intense sun leads to sunburn which can damage skin. Over many years, too much sun exposure can lead to cancers of the skin like melanoma, and diseases of the eyes, called cataracts. Make sure that you don't stay in the sun too long. When your shadow is shorter than you are, be especially careful. A short shadow means the sun is high in the sky and its radiation is strong. Ultra-violet radiation reaches the ground on cloudy days too so always account for how long you may be outside. Be safe by limiting your exposure. Apply sunscreen with a high SPF- sun protection factor. Wear sunglasses with UV protection, and wear light-colored clothing to cover your skin.

outdoor picnic

When it is sunny and hot, stay hydrated and drink plenty of water too. Wear a cap to protect your head from the sun, and also wear light-colored clothes. If you are outside for too long and your body gets too hot, you can get sick. People who work or play outside in the heat of the summer sun can get heat stroke or heat exhaustion if they are not careful. When you get too hot, your body tells you because you start to perspire or sweat. That's your body's way of cooling you down. If you perspire a lot, and can’t cool down, then slow down, find shade or air conditioning, and drink more water. It’s even harder to cool down in the summer, when air is filled with water vapor. The air feels sticky, and people say it is humid. Your sweat doesn’t evaporate as fast, so you stay warmer or hotter. Direct sun, high heat, and high humidity are a dangerous combination.

Other Summer Threats

  • Ozone and air pollution
  • Lightning and thunderstorms
  • Tropical storms and hurricanes