OCEAN CITY, Md. — Leading up to this Memorial Day weekend, Med Star Health is recognizing its first Sun Safety Week. The health system is raising awareness of the best practices to follow when it comes to sun exposure.
Med Star surveyed people in the DMV about their sun safety knowledge.
It found only one in four people know when to re-apply sunscreen which is every two hours and after swimming. The survey also revealed more people report packing snacks for the beach than sunscreen.
WUSA9 spoke with Dr. Korin Hudson, an Emergency Room Physician and one of the official team physicians to the Washington Capitals and the Washington Wizards, who said people need to be concerned about sun exposure and exposure to heat.
“In the short term, we can see sunburn. That can extend anywhere from just a mild annoyance -- that little salmon color, pink skin change to really severe burns that blister and peel and can cause people to need additional medical attention. That a short term burn can last days to weeks, but long term we see the risk of skin cancer which is a wide range of conditions,” she explained.
Dr. Hundson added skin cancer comes in all shades, and people with darker pigments are also urged to wear and reapply sunscreen.
It is also important to be aware of signs of heatstroke or heat exhaustion because Dr. Hudson warned they could be deadly for even the healthiest people.
Dr. Hudson gave the following tips to help keep you safe this summer:
KEY FACTS ON HEAT ILLNESS
- Heatstroke can be deadly for athletes of all ages and levels. Even the fittest and healthiest people need to watch out for signs of heat illness.
- Sun exposure contributes to heat illness. More than just heat and humidity, the radiant effect of sun and heat absorbed into surfaces like blacktop and artificial turf can contribute to heat illness.
TIPS TO STAY SAFE
- Don't exercise during the heat of the day (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.). Early mornings or evenings are best.
- Wear loose, light-fitting, moisture-wicking fabric to help your body stay cool.
- Hydrate before and during activity. Drinking plenty of water is key!
- Have an emergency plan; train with a buddy, consider cooling methods and have a plan (cool space, water/ice tank, or call 911)
Med Star will be running planes up and down the beach in Ocean City every two hours during the Memorial Day weekend to remind people to reapply their sunscreen every two hours.