When you are a lifeguard, sun exposure comes in the territory. That said, here are some tips regarding Sun Safety for Lifeguards.
The Dangers of Over-Exposure
A day in the life of a lifeguard mostly involves standing in the heat of the sun as you enjoy the ocean breeze. It may sound appealing enough. After all, who wouldn’t want to take in the sun from time to time, right?
However, people seem to forget that too much exposure to the sun’s rays can cause serious problems down the road. Lifeguards, as one would expect, are regularly exposed to high levels of solar radiation. That is why we are not exaggerating when we say that lifeguards are more prone to develop skin cancer compared to the general population.
This correlation is backed-up by several scientific studies conducted. In fact, it has been shown that poor sunscreen habits among young adults and teens have led to an increased propensity for skin-related diseases. One can only imagine if they did a comprehensive study on the lifeguard population. That being said, when it comes to serious illnesses like cancer, prevention is surely better than any cure.
As a lifeguard, you need to understand that these are real risks that you have to deal with. The best thing you can do is to have your bases covered and ensure that your skin is well taken care of despite the constant exposure to the sun. Presented below are just some of the things you can do.
- Wear a Hat – This may seem simple enough, however, it is of vital importance that you choose a hat that gives your head optimal protection. You may be tempted to choose a typical baseball cap as an accessory but we would strongly advise you to reconsider. This is because its design is severely limited. Those kinds of hats are only designed to keep the sun out of your eyes but it leaves your neck severely exposed to the sun’s heat and rays. Instead, we recommend a wide-brimmed hat that offers a more complete shade.
- Make Full Use of Sunscreen – For starters, you should understand that there are actually several kinds of sunscreen. This means that you cannot expect them to be equally effective. To be more precise, sunscreens vary depending on the kind of outdoor exposure.
For instance, incidental sun exposure requires only a sunscreen with the sun protection factor (SPF) of 15. This is often used for moments when you are outside for minutes at a time. Typically, these can filter out as much as 93 percent of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. On the other hand, lifeguards are typically exposed to intense levels of UV radiation for extended periods of time. A sunscreen with 15 SPF simply would not do the job. You should go with a sunscreen with no less than a 30 SPF rating.
In addition to this, we recommend that you make full use of what is called a broad spectrum sunscreen. This means that it can protect you from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation. It would also be great if your sunscreen was water-resistant.
Make sure to keep these in mind the next time you are out on lifeguard duty!