The Sun: friend or foe?
The Sun is your friend of course! Right?
Your short-term objectives for spending time and money on sun protection:
- not getting sun burns
- reduce the chances of getting a heat stroke
Your long-term objective is to reduce the risk of getting skin cancer.
Obviously the big winners in sun protection are your friend the shade, your clothing and of course your hat.
You control your clothing and the hat. The best clothing has UV-protection built-in in the fabric. The hat should be ideally covering not only the top of your head, but also your neck and the top and back of your ears. So, a hat with a wide brim is the perfect choice: the old pilgrims knew that!
Your friend the shade is a bit of a lousy friend: he’s not always there when you need him.
This is where sun screen and your common sense comes in: use them both!
Use common sense but read these few lines too, just in case…
When it’s hot, it sounds appealing: a sleeveless shirt, short pants, sandals.
Once you get naked under the shower, YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE ABLE TO SEE WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN WEARING THAT DAY.
We are not suggesting you always wear long pants and long sleeves and always walk in high boots. Just put on sun screen regularly and don’t put it on while walking. You won’t reach all unprotected parts. Take a break, take off your backpack and try to reach all unprotected parts. You don’t want to look like the persons in the pictures. Besides the looks: it hurts and it leaves your skin more prone to other discomforts! Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30+ and RE-APPLY every two hours.
Limit the time you are walking in the midday sun. Your enemy, Mr. UV Ray is at his strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. We at Camino Comfort only walk from 7 or 8 a.m. until approximately 1 p.m. and staying protected from the sun even provides us with the perfect excuse to walk less in a day and enjoy the afternoons doing other great stuff (reading, sleeping, relaxing, site-seeing, eating…).
Your eyes need protection too. If you don’t use them, you’ll soon have very irritated eyes and you’ll vision will decrease. You’ll also feel tired sooner than usual. The best sun glasses provide 99 to 100% UV-A and UV-B protection.
Alarming signs and symptoms
Symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke: confusion, dizziness, fainting, fatigue, headache, muscle and/or abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, pale skin, profuse sweating, rapid heartbeat, dark-colored urine.
Action: get out of the heat and rest in a cool place, drink a lot of fluids (no alcohol nor coffee), remove clothing as much as possible, take a cool shower or bath, or use ice towels. If these measures do not provide relief within 15 minutes: get emergency medical help.
Symptoms of dehydration: increased thirst, dry mouth, swollen tongue, weakness, dizziness, palpitations, confusion, fainting, inability to sweat, decreased urine output, dark-colored urine.
Action: get out of the heat and rest a bit so you can stop sweating. Start drinking fluids: short sips + frequently. When you get back to walking stop every 20 minutes to drink water (also when you are not thirsty!).Seek medical attention if your symptoms continue for more than a day.
For general hydration purpose after an onset of diarrhea or extreme dehydration due to vomiting or excessive sweating you can use some of the common oral hydration supplements that are available in the market.
This post is also available in: Dutch