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Bill’s 10 Essentials 2

2/10 SUN PROTECTION

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The bronzed, Adonis look should no longer be admired or emulated because of its association with skin cancer. Take care to protect yourself from the sun or you may have the dermatologist removing cancer cells (sometimes painfully) from your body.

Fortunately, clothing manufacturers have caught on to this fact, even if you haven’t. For this item in the Ten Essentials, most of what you need to use is something you will normally wear. All you have to do is to choose the right garments. Almost any piece of clothing will give you some protection. Some types of clothing will assure protection more than just “any” clothes. To select the right clothing, look carefully at the information tags as you choose them. Clothes that have been designed and tested to provide protection will have something that says SPF (Sun Protection Factor) on the tag. The more skin you can cover, the less you will have to worry about exposure. Plan to wear long pants and long sleeve shirts that offer UPF or SPF. This is a “drag” as shorts and short sleeve shirts seem desirable in the summer. But the parts of skin that are not covered by clothing will have to be protected in some other way.

OK, so now we have to worry about lower legs, arms and head. What do we do about them? For the lower legs and arms, a good sunscreen MUST be applied. That can also be applied to parts of the head but a good, wide brim hat will help without the mess of the creams. So, what about this, sometimes sticky, cream? It is interesting how sunscreen ratings have increased over the years. It used to be that an SPF rating of 8 or 10 was considered adequate. Now, most consider that you should have a sunscreen rated at 30 to 50. Sunscreen is not forever. Depending on your level of activity and the outside temperature, you may sweat off your protection within about an hour. Remember to reapply the sunscreen regularly. This is the one item that you must carry for “Sun Protection.”

Have we covered the subject? NO!! If you have ever burnt the eyes, you will probably not forget sunglasses. Damage to your eyes is VERY painful. A good pair of sunglasses that covers more than just the eye will help avoid reflected damage. But the sunglasses must also be rated. In this case it is UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor). While traveling, I almost always carry a second set in case the first set gets lost or broken.

Other considerations: Do not think that just because it is a cloudy day, that you do not need sunscreen. The sun’s ultraviolet rays do come through clouds. It is also important to use sunscreen when you are working on or around snow. There have been several instances of strong sunburn during training for snow climbing, ice climbing or avalanche rescue.

In conclusion, don’t forget about sun protection. The consequences of ignoring it can be painful and have long-term consequences.

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