SATURDAY, July 16 (HealthDay News) -- You may love the summer
heat that makes it easy to swim, picnic and just laze around
outside, but don't overdo it: Overexposure to the sun and heat can
be dangerous, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency warns.
On average, heat waves kill more people each year in the United
States than any other natural disaster. And one American dies every
hour from skin cancer, the most common type of cancer in the United
States, according to the EPA.
To help combat the double-whammy of heat waves and the sun, the
EPA suggests planting trees, shrubs and vines near buildings to
provide cooling shade and protection from ultraviolet rays.
The agency also offers the following summer safety tips:
- Stay hydrated and wear lightweight, light-colored, and
loose-fitting clothing to protect your skin from harmful UV
radiation. Also, wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
- Apply sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher about 30 minutes
before you go outside and reapply every two hours. Check the sun's
UV index before you go outside.
- If you're outside during the sun's peak hours between 10 a.m.
and 4 p.m., try to stay in shade.
- Remind others, particularly the elderly, to be safe in the sun
and heat. Monitor them for signs of heat illness, which can include
hot and dry skin, confusion, hallucinations and aggression.
- Check the air quality. High ozone levels on hot summer days can
make the air unhealthy to breathe.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers more
hot weather tips.