The Australian summer is a great time to embrace the great outdoors and soak up the sun. However, while the sun’s rays bring warmth and joy, they also bring along potential risks. Sun exposure can lead to sunburn, dehydration, and other health concerns. To ensure you have a healthy and sun-safe summer, it’s important to be well-informed and take the right precautions. In this article, we’ll explore the risks of sun exposure, how to choose the best sunscreen, stay hydrated, treat sunburn, and how bulk-billed telehealth services like Phenix Health can assist with sunburn, dehydration, and premature aging.
What are the risks of sun exposure?
While enjoying the sun is an integral part of the Australian lifestyle, it’s crucial to understand the potential risks associated with sun exposure. Australia is known for its stunning beaches, outdoor activities, and a culture that enjoys spending time outdoors. Many Australians revel in the sun’s warmth, and sunny days often mean beach trips, barbecues, and outdoor sports. It’s a lifestyle that brings joy and a sense of connection with nature. However, in the midst of this sun-soaked enjoyment, it’s essential to recognise that the sun’s rays, specifically its ultraviolet (UV) rays, can pose potential risks to our health.
What are the risks associated with UV rays?
The sun emits a spectrum of radiation, including UV rays, which have both positive and negative effects on our well-being. While moderate sun exposure is essential for the body to produce vitamin D and maintain a healthy mood, overexposure to UV rays can result in several health issues. These issues range from immediate concerns to long-term health risks, and it’s essential to know about them to enjoy the sun safely.
Potential health issues that arise from prolonged sun exposure include:
Sunburn: Sunburn is the most immediate and common consequence of excessive sun exposure. When your skin is exposed to UV rays for an extended period without protection, it can lead to sunburn. Sunburn can manifest as redness, pain, and swelling in the affected area of the skin. Severe sunburn can even result in blisters and skin peeling. In addition to the immediate discomfort, sunburn can cause long-term skin damage and significantly increase the risk of skin cancer, particularly melanoma. With an online health appointment, our team can help assess your sunburn and provide you with an e-script if neccessary.
Dehydration: The heat of the summer sun can lead to dehydration if you don’t drink enough fluids. Dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluids than it takes in. Symptoms of dehydration can include dizziness, fatigue, excessive thirst, dry mouth, dark urine, and even heatstroke in severe cases. Staying hydrated during hot and sunny days is essential to prevent these symptoms and maintain your overall well-being. Dehydration can affect people of all ages, and it’s particularly important for children and the elderly to stay properly hydrated in the heat.
Skin Cancer: Long-term and repeated exposure to UV rays, such as those from the sun, increases the risk of developing skin cancer. The most dangerous form of skin cancer is melanoma, which can be life-threatening if not detected and treated early. UV rays can damage the DNA in skin cells, leading to mutations that can result in the uncontrolled growth of malignant skin cells. It’s essential to take sun protection seriously to reduce the risk of skin cancer, including wearing sunscreen, protective clothing, and seeking shade during peak sun hours. If you see any irregular blemishes or marks on your skin, book an appointment with our team asap so they can assess the situation and refer you to a specialist.
Premature Aging: UV rays can accelerate the aging of the skin, causing premature aging. This includes the development of wrinkles, fine lines, age spots, and other skin blemishes. UV rays can break down collagen and elastin, which are essential for maintaining the skin’s elasticity and youthful appearance. Over time, this can lead to visible signs of aging. Protecting your skin from UV exposure can help maintain a youthful and healthy appearance. If you are already experiencing premature aging, our team can help. Our doctors and nurses can provide an online prescription like tretinoin, which is widely recognised as one of the best treatments for signs of aging.
How to Choose the Best Sunscreen for You?
Protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays is crucial for maintaining healthy and radiant skin. Sunscreen is a powerful tool in this regard, but with numerous options available, it can be challenging to determine which one is the right choice for your specific needs. Here are some valuable tips for selecting the best sunscreen to keep your skin safe and healthy:
Broad-Spectrum Protection: The term “broad-spectrum” means that the sunscreen is designed to protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays penetrate the skin’s deeper layers, potentially leading to premature aging, while UVB rays are responsible for causing sunburn. A sunscreen labeled as “broad-spectrum” is your first line of defense against both of these harmful rays, offering comprehensive protection.
SPF Rating: Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is a critical factor in choosing the right sunscreen. It quantifies the level of protection the sunscreen offers against UVB rays. For adequate protection, select a sunscreen with an SPF rating of at least 30. Higher SPF values indicate greater protection, although it’s important to remember that no sunscreen provides complete immunity from the sun’s rays.
Water-Resistance: If you plan to engage in water activities, whether it’s swimming, surfing, or any other water-related sport, opt for a water-resistant sunscreen. Water-resistant sunscreens are formulated to adhere to the skin even when exposed to water, ensuring you remain protected during your aquatic adventures. However, remember that even water-resistant sunscreen may need to be reapplied after swimming for extended periods.
Skin Type: Consider your skin type when choosing a sunscreen. If you have sensitive skin that is prone to irritation or allergies, look for sunscreens with hypoallergenic labels. These sunscreens are formulated to minimize the risk of skin reactions, making them a suitable choice for individuals with delicate skin. Understanding your skin type ensures that the sunscreen is both protective and gentle on your skin. If you have sensitive skin or a skin condition, it might be worth having a chat with one of our expert doctors and nurses who can help determine the products and ingredients that are best for you.
Ingredients: Examine the ingredients list on the sunscreen packaging. Look for key ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These ingredients offer added protection by creating a physical barrier on the skin’s surface to reflect and scatter UV rays. They are particularly effective in safeguarding against both UVA and UVB rays.
Application: Proper application of sunscreen is just as important as choosing the right one. To ensure effective protection, apply sunscreen generously to all exposed skin areas. Don’t forget often-missed areas like the ears, back of the neck, and the tops of your feet. Additionally, remember to reapply sunscreen every two hours, or more frequently if you’re swimming or engaged in strenuous activities that cause sweating. Proper application and reapplication maximize the sunscreen’s effectiveness in shielding your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.
By following these tips, you can make an informed decision when selecting sunscreen that suits your needs and provides optimal protection for your skin.
How to Stay Hydrated in the Summer and What to Do If You Get Dehydrated?
As the temperature rises during the summer, so does the risk of dehydration. Dehydration can lead to various health issues, including dizziness, fatigue, and even heatstroke. To ensure you stay well-hydrated during the summer, consider the following tips:
Drink Water Regularly: Aim to consume at least eight glasses of water a day, and increase your intake if you’re active. Water is your body’s best friend when it comes to staying hydrated. It helps regulate your body temperature, aids in digestion, and supports overall bodily functions. Regular water intake is essential to replenish the fluids lost through sweating on hot summer days.
Hydrating Foods: Incorporating water-rich foods into your diet is another effective way to boost your hydration. Foods like watermelon, cucumber, and oranges have high water content, making them ideal choices during the summer. These fruits and vegetables not only provide essential nutrients but also contribute to your daily hydration needs.
Avoid Excessive Alcohol and Caffeine: While a refreshing summer cocktail or a cup of iced coffee can be tempting, it’s essential to consume alcohol and caffeine in moderation. These substances can contribute to dehydration. Both alcohol and caffeine have diuretic effects, meaning they increase urine production, potentially leading to the loss of body fluids. If you choose to enjoy alcoholic or caffeinated beverages, balance them with extra water consumption to maintain proper hydration.
Electrolyte Replacement: If you’re engaging in strenuous activities or find yourself sweating heavily in the summer heat, consider using drinks or supplements that can replenish electrolytes. Electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium, are essential minerals that help regulate various bodily functions, including muscle contractions and nerve function. When you sweat, you lose electrolytes, and it’s vital to restore them to prevent imbalances. Sports drinks and electrolyte supplements can be useful in these situations to help you stay properly hydrated.
If you find that you are struggling with symptoms of dehydration even after following these tips, make sure to book an appointment with us as soon as possible. Our team is available online 24/7 and can help determine if there are any underlying causes that may be causing you symptoms of dehydration.
How to Treat Sunburn?
Even when you’ve taken every possible precaution, it’s an undeniable fact that sunburn can still unexpectedly happen. When the unfortunate event occurs, it becomes absolutely vital to possess the knowledge and understanding of how to treat it in a manner that not only minimizes discomfort but also acts as a shield against any potential additional damage to your skin. To navigate this discomforting situation with the utmost care and expertise, here are some indispensable steps to take when treating sunburn:
Cool the Skin: The initial step in treating sunburn is to cool the affected skin. This can be accomplished by taking a cool bath or applying cold compresses to the sunburned areas. The cool water or compresses help to reduce skin temperature and provide relief from the burning sensation.
Hydrate: Sunburn can cause dehydration as the body attempts to heal the damaged skin. To support your body’s recovery, it’s essential to drink extra fluids, primarily water. Staying well-hydrated helps your body replenish lost fluids and aids in the healing process.
Over-the-Counter Relief: Over-the-counter creams and pain relievers can provide relief from the discomfort of sunburn. Look for products containing ingredients like aloe vera, which can help soothe the skin. Pain relievers like ibuprofen or aspirin can also be helpful in reducing pain and inflammation caused by sunburn.
Avoid Further Sun Exposure: After experiencing sunburn, it’s crucial to avoid further sun exposure until your skin has fully healed. Sunburned skin is more vulnerable to damage from UV rays, and additional exposure can exacerbate the condition. If you need to be outside, make sure to cover the sunburned areas with clothing and wear a wide-brimmed hat.
Consult a Doctor: In cases of severe sunburn, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional. Severe sunburn may involve blisters, extreme pain, or signs of infection. If you experience these symptoms or if your sunburn covers a large area, it’s best to seek medical guidance. Phenix Health offers telehealth services, allowing you to connect with healthcare experts who can provide expert advice and treatment recommendations for sunburn. Book an online appointment with Phenix Health’s bulk-billed telehealth services 24/7.
By following these steps, you can effectively treat sunburn and prevent further damage to your skin. Taking prompt and appropriate action is key to a speedy recovery and the preservation of your skin’s health.
How Telehealth Can Help You with Sunburns?
Australian summers bring abundant sunshine, outdoor activities, and a great time to bask in the beauty of the outdoors. However, along with the joys of the sun, the risk of sunburn looms. Sunburn can be painful, discomforting, and sometimes even severe. In such instances, Phenix Health offers a convenient and expert solution through its telehealth services, staffed by Australian doctors and healthcare professionals.
Sunburn Treatment Online: Your Guideline to Relief
Online Consultations for Sunburn Relief
With Phenix Health, you can access doctors and nurses online 24/7. When you find yourself dealing with a sunburn, our healthcare professionals can offer expert guidance on how to manage and treat the condition effectively.
Assessing Your Sunburn
In a telehealth session, the healthcare professional will assess the severity of your sunburn, taking into account factors like the extent of skin damage, blistering, and associated discomfort.
Recommendations and Prescriptions
Following the assessment, you will receive personalised recommendations for sunburn relief. These recommendations may include over-the-counter products, creams, and ointments suitable for your specific symptoms. If necessary, the doctor can prescribe medications to alleviate pain and inflammation, ensuring your recovery is as comfortable as possible.
During the consultation, our doctors or nurses can recommend you to a specialist if they think you will benefit from it. For example, if you are experiencing signs of premature aging as a result of sun damage, our team can give you an online specialist referral to a dermatologist or other healthcare professional. We also offer bulk-billing for this service, so your out-of-pocket costs are very low.
Guidance for Healing
You’ll receive guidance on the healing process and instructions on how to prevent further complications. This expert advice is delivered promptly, allowing you to initiate treatment without delay.
How Telehealth Can Help You with Dehydration?
Dehydration is a significant concern during hot summer days, and recognizing its symptoms is crucial for maintaining health and well-being. When you experience symptoms like dizziness, extreme thirst, or dark urine, Phenix Health’s telehealth professionals can provide assistance in rehydration and, if necessary, recommend further medical care.
Recognizing Dehydration Signs
It’s essential to understand the signs of dehydration. If you’re experiencing dizziness, extreme thirst, dry mouth, dark urine, or fatigue during hot weather, these could be indications of dehydration.
Assessment and Guidance
Through a telehealth consultation, our healthcare professionals will assess your condition. They will discuss your symptoms, fluid intake, and any relevant medical history to determine the severity of your dehydration and if there are any underlying causes.
You’ll receive guidance on rehydration, which may include recommendations for fluid intake and solutions that can help replenish lost electrolytes. Our healthcare professionals can advise on the types of fluids to consume and the quantity needed to rehydrate effectively.
In some cases, severe dehydration may require medical attention beyond telehealth. If this is the case, our telehealth professionals will recommend appropriate steps and refer you to the specialists who can help determine the cause of your dehydration, or the symptoms you’re experiencing. They can also refer you for any pathology or radiology tests required.
By leveraging Phenix Health’s telehealth services, you can access medical assistance and advice from the comfort of your home, around the clock. It’s an awesome way to receive prompt and effective treatment for you and your family’s sunburn and dehydration concerns.
A sun safe and healthy summer is within your reach. By understanding the risks of sun exposure, selecting the right sunscreen, staying hydrated, and knowing how to treat sunburn, you can enjoy the Australian summer while keeping health risks at bay. Phenix Health’s telehealth services stand ready to provide medical support whenever you need it. So, embrace the sun, stay safe, and savour every moment of this beautiful season.