The Arthritis Newsletter

Summer 2016

Tips for Summer Fun in the Sun

By Alexandria Klemm


510px-Summer2016-TipsSummerSunNo one wants to be a lobster in the summer. Those of us with an inflammatory arthritis either have a greater sensitivity to the sun due to disease activity, or are more sensitive due to side effects of our arthritis medications. This means we need to be extra careful when engaging in our summer activities!


Here are some tips to enjoying the summer without some nasty consequences:

  1. Sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB sunrays with a minimum SPF of 30 is your best friend.
    • Know how long the sunscreen lasts for and set an alarm on your phone to reapply when needed (every 2-3 hours). Applying only once in the day isn’t enough!
    • If you’re sweating a lot or swimming then you will need to reapply more often (after 30 minutes), even if the sunscreen claims to be “waterproof”.
    • Don’t forget to still apply on cloudy/overcast days.
    • Apply the first layer 15-30 minutes BEFORE going outside.
  2. Avoid direct sunlight if possible… so DO NOT tan, and definitely do not use tanning beds. Having a tan is not worth it, even if you’re lucky enough to not turn lobster rash red.
  3. Find a large full brimmed hat that you love to wear. The shading of your face will limit unnecessary sun exposure plus it can be a nice accessory to your summer outfit.
  4. Always have a pair of sunglasses with lenses that block UVA and UVB rays with you, especially if you’re at risk for developing uveitis.
  5. Tightly woven loose fitting clothing, with long sleeves if possible, will also add some protection. Several outdoor clothing companies now manufacture sun protective clothing that lists Ultaviolet Protection Factor (UPF) ratings on the label.
  6. If you are the type of person who loves to hike or must be outdoors then try to engage in these activities earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon when the sun isn’t at its strongest (11am to 4pm).
  7. Patios are great and common places to enjoy drinks (especially those of the alcohol variety), so pick a table at the restaurant with a large shade-producing umbrella or purchase one for your own patio.


For more scientific information on sunscreen options click on this link: https://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-prevention/sun-protection/sunscreen/


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