Soak Up the Sun? Not So Fast.

When the sun comes out, it’s only natural to want to lay around and take in your fill of it. But it’s important to be careful when it comes to sun exposure. Especially here in Texas, the sun is hot, and it’s out all day long. You want to carefully limit your exposure to make sure you don’t end up with sunburns, heat stroke, or worse.

With that in mind, here are a few quick tips to keep your sun exposure to a healthy medium – so you can enjoy a burn-free summer!

Don’t use out-of-date sunscreen.

Sunscreen that expired two years ago won’t help you now. The active ingredients in most sunscreens wear out over time, especially if you store them in hot places (like your glove box or the beach bag in the trunk of your car). If your sunscreen bottle has passed its expiration date, throw it away and buy a new one.

Know your SPF.

You probably already know that you should be using sunscreen with at least SPF 30. So getting sunscreen with the highest SPF you can find is the smart thing to do, right? Not really. SPF 30 already blocks 96% of the sun’s UVB rays. When you go up to SPF 50, the sunscreen blocks 98% of UVB rays. At SPF 75, you’re blocking 99% of those rays. This incremental increase in protection usually isn’t worth the extra dollars you’ll pay for the sunscreen – especially since higher SPF sunscreen doesn’t last any longer on your skin. And this brings us to our next point.

Reapply your sunscreen religiously.

Putting your sunscreen on once in the morning isn’t enough. At minimum, you should reapply the sunscreen every 2 hours you’re out in the sun. If you’re swimming or sweating, you should reapply every hour at least. Check the bottle for more specific instructions – some sunscreens can only resist water (swimming, sweating) for 40 to 80 minutes!

Dress smart.

Sure, it’s tempting to walk around all day in as little as you can get away with. But exposing that much of your skin to the sun could come back to bite (or burn) you later. Instead, use a wide-brimmed hat to shade as much of your body from the sun as possible. Wear light, loose-fitting, protective clothing. And don’t forget your sunglasses!

Avoid the sun during the most intense hours of the day.

You can’t get sunburned if you’re not out in the sun. For those days when you’re not working, go inside when the sun is at its most intense (usually from 10 AM to 4 PM) or at the very least seek out shade whenever possible. Feel free to borrow a trick from our neighbors south of the border and take a siesta inside if you have a time!

Follow these tips, and you should be much closer enjoying summer fun without sunburn or worse. But don’t worry. If you get a bad sunburn, you can always come to see us. While we’re limited in what we can do for sunburns, we might be able to help you get some relief until the burn goes away on its own. We’re here to make sure you have the best, healthiest summer you can!

The Medical Consequences of Working a Full-Time Desk Job

Human bodies are not built to live a sedentary lifestyle. Our bodies were designed for regular movement. On average, American adults spend 9 to 10 hours every day sitting. Living a sedentary lifestyle can have drastic consequences on our mental and physical health, making us more at risk for conditions such as diabetes and obesity. Here are some consequences and warning signs that you need to get up and move:

Back and Hip Pain

Moving around gives our vertebrae room to breathe, expand, and contract. Movement allows our spine to soak up nutrients that are essential for our health. Sitting for an extended period can cause our vertebrae to be pressed together unevenly, causing collagen to harden around our tendons and ligaments, which in turn causes back pain. The added stress onto the back has a direct relationship with our hips. Our hips are then put under so much pressure that we experience hip pain as well.

The occupational health services at Immediate Medical Care on NASA Parkway can give you a proper back evaluation to determine your back health.

 Strained Neck

Almost instinctively, people tend to crank their neck forward towards the screen and keyboard while sitting at a desk or even looking down towards a cell phone. This consistent movement of the vertebrae can lead to neck issues, including a strained neck. These strains can eventually lead to permanent disproportions.

Carpal Tunnel

Although it has not been proven, carpal tunnel syndrome could be a result of extended sitting and keyboard use. Any repetitive or forceful movement of the hands or wrists can cause carpal tunnel. Whether you are working with small instruments, typing, knitting, sanding, or using something repetitively, you could be at risk.

Deep Vein Thrombosis

Sitting for a long period of time decreases circulation to your legs and feet, causing fluids to pool in the legs. Issues caused by this range from swollen ankles and varicose veins to dangerous blood clots like deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Inactivity also causes your leg bones to become weaker, increasing the chance to develop osteoporosis.

What Can You Do?

  • Experts recommend stretching daily to help prevent a wide range of conditions and to get the blood flowing throughout the body.
  • Get up and walk around the office or outside on your break to get your blood flowing
  • Sitting on a yoga ball or wobbly object to help strengthen the core
  • Asking your supervisor for a standing desk so that you can alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day
  • Paying attention to your posture throughout the day, are you slumping as the day goes on? Is your back straight?