By MSU Extension

MECOSTA COUNTY — While the use of sunscreen is important all year long, warm weather months often mean increased time spent outdoors.

In the U.S., Ultra Violet exposure is the greatest from May through August. The more intense the sun, the greater your exposure to UV rays. With warmer temperatures on the way, it’s a good time to get prepared for more sun exposure. Simple preparedness can include carrying extra sunscreen and a hat in the car.

Diabetes can affect how the body regulates temperatures internally. For those with diabetes, warmer temperatures may affect blood glucose. For some, diabetes makes it harder for the body to handle high heat and humidity. Extreme heat is especially dangerous to people age 65 and older, children younger than four and people with a chronic illness.

A few additional tips include:

  • Sun – Avoid sunburn. The FDA recommends using Broad Spectrum sunscreens with SPF values of 15 or higher regularly and as directed.
  • Shade – Wear wide brim hats and light colored clothing made of fabrics that can “breathe.” Long sleeve lightweight shirts help protect against sunburn. Choose shade when you can while outside. Depending on the time of day, solar radiation can vary.
  • Heat – People with diabetes should check blood sugar levels frequently, they may fluctuate. Extreme temperature changes can have an effect on your diabetes supplies. This is something to keep in mind while traveling. Never go barefoot on hot surfaces. A bodily feeling of extreme heat with profuse sweating may be a sign of heat exhaustion. If you feel this, or something similar, find shade and/or air conditioning immediately. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include dizziness, fainting and for some people, excessive sweating. Seek medical help if any of these symptoms occur.
  • Hydrate – Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Avoid a high sodium diet, which can affect blood pressure and cause the body to retain fluid. Avoid caffeinated or alcoholic beverages that can be dehydrating.
  • Summer Activities – Avoid exercising outdoors in extreme heat; choose an indoor, air-conditioned location. Choose early morning or early evening for activities to avoid prime time sun intensity. Pace yourself and consider the temperatures when you spend time outdoors.

Remember, sun exposure is year round, whenever you are outside. The longer an individual is out in the sun, the more UV rays they receive. These tips are good reminders to prepare for the summer months ahead.

Always remember to follow your healthcare provider’s advice.