There’s nothing better than when it is nice and sunny!
It means we can play outside with our friends, have a picnic in the park, go swimming in an outdoor pool – there are so many fun ways to make the most of the sunshine, especially when there’s no school!
Catching some rays is good for us too. It is our primary source of vitamin D, which helps us get stronger bones.
However, it is important to stay safe in the sun.
The sun is hotter than you can possibly imagine – it’s a toasty 15 million degrees at its centre!
Of course, since we are millions of miles away, the sun’s heat is not quite so hot by the time it reaches us. But we do still have to be careful when out in the sun, especially children.
Did you know that as children spend so much time outside having fun, you actually get between 50% and 80% of your lifetime sun exposure before you reach the age of 18?
When the sun sends its light to the earth, part of that light is made up of invisible Ultraviolet or ‘UV’ rays. When the sun’s light reaches our skin, it is these ‘UV’ rays that make us tan. But they also cause burning and other skin damage.
Keeping your skin healthy in the sun is essential whether you are on holiday in a hot climate or even just at home in the UK.
Fortunately there are plenty of ways to ensure that you are not hurt by ‘UV’ rays:
Slip on a long sleeve shirt when you are outside in the sun
Slap on a wide brimmed hat to protect your face and back of your neck
Slop on some sunscreen. Use a sunscreen with an SPF rating of 30 or higher, and put on sunscreen 15 to 20 minutes before going out in the sun.
All sunscreens have a Sun Protection Factor (or ‘SPF’), and the number rating tells you how much longer you can stay in the sun without getting sunburned.
You must remember to re-apply sunscreen regularly, and at least every 2 hours. And more often when you’ve been swimming or sweating a lot — even if the sunscreen is waterproof. You also need to be extra careful when you are out swimming or sailing, as you can get sunburned more quickly because the sun’s reflection from the water intensifies its rays.
Be sure to put sunscreen all over your body. This includes some places you might not think of – like the tops of your ears, the back of your neck, any parting in your hair and the tops of your feet. You may need some help reaching the back of your body so ask your parents or friends to give you a hand.
Don’t forget that your eyes also need protection from UV rays. So always wear sunglasses in the bright sun, and make sure they have a label saying that they block UV rays.
Oh, and try and avoid playing outside when the sun is at its hottest – this is normally between 11am and 3pm.
When the weather is hot, it’s important to drink lots of water because this will help your body to cool down.
Being thirsty is a sign of dehydration, which means that your body doesn’t have enough water in it to keep it working right. If you don’t replace the water your body has lost, you might start feeling sick.
Just remember, our bodies are made up of almost 70% water so it’s pretty important to keep it topped up!
If you’re out in the hot sun or you’re exercising on a hot day, it’s easy to get heat exhaustion. This happens when our bodies can’t cool fast enough. Heat exhaustion can come on suddenly – a person may just collapse when playing soccer or tennis, for example. And it can leave someone feeling really tired for days after it happens.
Heat stroke is a more serious heat-related illness and can cause someone to stop sweating. Be sure to tell an adult if you’re hot and have a headache or feel dizzy or nauseated (like you’re going to throw up). The grown-up will want to get you out of the sun, give you liquids to drink, and take you to a doctor if necessary.
Hayfever is an allergic reaction to grass and tree pollens, and it might make you sneeze a lot or have itchy eyes, mouth or throat.
Most people’s symptoms are seasonal, which means they come and go according to the times that the particular pollen is in the air. So if you’re allergic to a certain flower, you will only have a possible allergic reaction when that flower has bloomed.
It’s a very common condition, especially during summer when most plants are in flower, but luckily there are lots of remedies available at your local pharmacy.
Some things you can do to help prevent allergic reactions:
- Wash your face and hands regularly, especially if the weather lady on TV says there’s a high pollen count
- Try to work out with your parents which pollens you are allergic to. This way you can try and stay in more when that particular pollen is in the air
- Stay inside when your mum or dad mows the lawn
If there’s a high pollen count, keep windows, doors and car sunroofs closed.