BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) - As people enjoy the lazy days of summer, state health officials remind everyone to not be lazy about safety.
"Residents should really be taking precautions against sun exposure every day of the year," Louisiana Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry said. "But it's critical to do so during the midday hours of our summer months, when UV rays are the strongest and do the most damage."
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) say spending time out by the water is not the only way you can get too much sun. They remind everyone that summer activities like gardening, outdoor concerts and sporting events can also expose you to too much sun.
The state says overexposure to the sun can cause heat exhaustion, premature aging and painful sunburn. DHH says in the U.S. nearly 5 million people are treated for skin cancer each year.
Below is a list of safety tips DHH compiled to keep you and your family safe from the sun's harmful UV rays:
• Always wear sunscreen with broad spectrum (UVA and UVB) protection and an SPF of at least 15 or 30.
• Apply sunscreen 15 to 20 minutes prior to going out in the sun, and reapply at least every two hours-more often if you are swimming or sweating heavily.
• Cover up with clothing to protect exposed skin, wear UV-blocking sunglasses and consider wearing a wide-brim hat that shades the face, head, ears and neck.
• Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps, which emit UV rays as dangerous as those coming from the sun.
• Take frequent breaks from the sun by going indoors or moving into the shade, especially during midday hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
• Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
• Be alert for children who may be suffering from heat exhaustion. Warning signs include a child feeling overheated, tired or weak.