July & August are Sun & Heat Protection Months

  • Safety Alert
  • Sunscreen Label Tips
  • Reduce Your Risk
  • Risk Factors
  • Eye Protection

Safety Alert

Overexposure to high temperatures and humidity can quickly lead to heat exhaustion. It is imperative to recognize the early signs and symptoms of overexposure. Early recognition can ward off serious consequences. Generally, heat exhaustion is caused by loss of body fluids and important salts. If untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke. Heat stroke is a medical emergency caused by failure of the heat-regulating mechanism of the body, due to high heat and humidity.

We need to all be aware of this and make a special effort to be alert of any signs or symptoms of heat exhaustion/stroke. Hopefully, we can help prevent any of these conditions by taking some pre-cautionary steps.

  1. All worksites should have water available.
  2. All worksites should have sunscreen readily available.
  3. Watch out for each other.
  4. Encourage rest breaks and use common sense when it comes to the weather conditions.
  5. If the outside work environment is extremely hot, work can still be accomplished by performing less strenuous activities that will not overheat the body.
  6. Dress appropriately-light colors, long sleeves, light material.
Condition Symptoms Mental Status Core Temperature Treatment
Heat Exhaustion (excessive water loss) headache, nausea, fatigue, dizziness or light-headedness, actively sweating, skin cool and pale usually conscious, may faint over 102 shady place or AC room, keep cool, increase fluids, cold wet towels, fan, may require IV fluids
Heat Stroke (failure of bodies heat controlling mechanisms- EMERGENCY!!!! Can set in less than one hour! headache, flushed skin, dry skin, warm skin, rapid, pounding pulse incoherent speech, disoriented, confused, aggressive, possibly unconscious over 105 immediate action necessary, shady place or AC room, remove most of clothes, apply cool, wet towels, fan to increase air flow, to ER (call 911)
Heat Cramps (Muscle contractions in calves and hamstrings) feels like a severe muscle pull, forceful and painful, not life threatening, associated with lack of fluids, high temps and lack of physical conditioning mental status usually fine watch for elevated temp as this condition could lead to the others listed water, cool air, rest

How to Read Sunscreen Labels

Although UVB rays are the primary cause of sunburn, both UVA and UVB rays contribute to skin cancer. All sunscreens protect against the sun’s UVB rays, but only those that are broad spectrum also protect against UVA rays.

Scientific studies have determined that broad spectrum sunscreens with an SPF of at least 15 can help reduce the risk of sun-induced skin cancer and premature skin aging when used with other sun protective measures, as directed. If you have lighter skin, you may want to use a sunscreen with an SPF higher than 15.

Under the FDA’s final regulations:

  • Products that pass a broad spectrum test can be labeled “broad spectrum.”
  • Sunscreens that are not broad spectrum or that lack an SPF of at least 15 must carry a warning: “Skin Cancer/Skin Aging Alert: Spending time in the sun increases your risk of skin cancer and early skin aging. This product has been shown only to help prevent sunburn, not skin cancer or early skin aging.”
  • Water resistance claims, for 40 or 80 minutes, tell how much time you can expect to get the labeled SPF-level of protection while swimming or sweating.
  • Manufacturers may no longer make claims that their sunscreens are “waterproof” or “sweat proof.”
  • Products may no longer be identified as “sunblocks” or claim instant protection or protection for more than two hours without reapplying.

For more information about sunscreen and to watch videos about sunscreen, visit the FDA’s sunscreen website .

Reduce Your Risk for Sunburn, Skin Cancer, and Early Skin Aging Caused by the Sun

Sun damage to the body is caused by invisible ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Sunburn is a type of skin damage caused by the sun. Tanning is also a sign of the skin reacting to potentially damaging UV radiation by producing additional pigmentation that provides it with some—but often not enough—protection against sunburn.

Spending time in the sun increases your risk of skin cancer and early skin aging. People of all skin colors are at risk for this damage.

You can reduce your risk by:

  • Limiting your time in the sun, especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun’s rays are most intense.
  • Wearing clothing to cover skin exposed to the sun—such as long-sleeve shirts, pants, sunglasses, and broad-brim hats. Sun-protective clothing is now available. (The FDA regulates these products only if they are intended to be used for medical purposes.)
  • Using broad spectrum sunscreens with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) value of 15 or higher regularly and as directed. (Broad spectrum sunscreens offer protection against both UVA and UVB rays, two types of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation.)

Always read the label to ensure you use your sunscreen correctly, and ask a health care professional before applying sunscreen to infants younger than 6 months.

In general, the FDA recommends that you use broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher, even on cloudy days.

  • Apply sunscreen liberally to all uncovered skin, especially your nose, ears, neck, hands, feet, and lips (but avoid putting it inside your mouth and eyes).
  • Reapply at least every two hours. Apply more often if you’re swimming or sweating. (Read the label for your specific sunscreen. An average-size adult or child needs at least one ounce of sunscreen, about the amount it takes to fill a shot glass, to evenly cover the body.)
  • If you don’t have much hair, apply sunscreen to the top of your head, or wear a hat.
  • No sunscreen completely blocks UV radiation, and other protections are needed, such as protective clothing, sunglasses, and staying in the shade.
  • No sunscreen is waterproof.


  • Certain sunscreens have FDA-approved New Drug Applications. Others are marketed under the FDA’s Over-the-Counter (OTC) Drug Review. Sunscreens are available in forms such as lotions, creams, sticks, gels, oils, butters, pastes, and sprays.
  • Sunscreen products in forms including wipes, towelettes, powders, body washes, and shampoos that are marketed without an FDA-approved application or outside the FDA’s OTC Drug Review remain subject to regulatory action.

Risk Factors for Harmful Effects of UV Radiation

Remember, people of all skin colors are potentially at risk for sunburn and other harmful effects of UV radiation, so always protect yourself. Be especially careful if you have:

  • pale skin
  • blond, red, or light brown hair
  • been treated for skin cancer
  • a family member who has had skin cancer

If you take medications, ask your health care professional about sun-care precautions. Some medications may increase sun sensitivity. Even on an overcast day, up to 80 percent of the sun’s UV rays can get through the clouds. Stay in the shade as much as possible.

Protect Your Eyes With Sunglasses

Sunlight reflecting off sand, water, or even snow, further increases exposure to UV radiation and increases your risk of developing eye problems.

Certain sunglasses can help protect your eyes. When using sunglasses:

  • Choose sunglasses labeled with a UVA/UVB rating of 100% to get the most UV protection.
  • Do not mistake dark-tinted sunglasses as having more UV protection. The darkness of the lens does not indicate its ability to shield your eyes from UV rays. Many sunglasses with light-colored tints, such as green, amber, red, and gray can offer the same UV protection as very dark lenses.
  • Children should wear sunglasses that indicate the UV protection level. Toy sunglasses may not have UV protection, so be sure to look for the UV protection label.
  • Consider large, wraparound-style frames, which may provide more efficient UV protection because they cover the entire eye-socket.

This is especially important when doing activities around or on water because much of the UV comes from light reflected off the water’s surface.

  • Understand that pricier sunglasses don’t ensure greater UV protection.
  • Even if you wear contact lenses, wear sunglasses that offer UV protection.
  • Know that sunglasses are the most effective when worn with a wide-brim hat and sunscreen.