For the past few months, everything in my life seems to revolve around COVID-19. When I’m not working from home, I’m foraging for food, making sure I have my prescriptions filled, adjusting to telemedicine visits with my doctor, and remembering how to take care of myself.
Taking care of yourself while being socially isolated can be quite challenging. Often, fear of the unknown can distract you from attending to the regular tasks in your life that keep your health in check — things like eating well, exercising, and going outside. But, even with social distancing rules, I encourage folks to try and keep as “regular” a life as one can.
Make Time to Get Outside
“Regular life” certainly involves being outside! Spending time outdoors is not just OK, it’s quite healthy if you wear a mask in public during the COVID-19 pandemic and practice social distancing. Or, you can just spend time in your own yard doing things like:
- Sitting on your porch
- Planting veggies
You may be thinking: “I have been cooped up inside so long I don’t need sunscreen when I’m out for a short time!” But, think again!
Protect Yourself with Sun Safety
Remember, UV radiation from the sun is not only dangerous, but it’s sneaky too. Besides causing premature aging and skin cancer, UV rays can penetrate even when you think you aren’t in the sun. UV radiation can bounce off surfaces like sand, water, and snow and it can pass through glass and clouds.
Skin cancer isn’t just from excessive time in the sun (for example, someone who was a lifeguard at the beach for many years). The deadly effects of UV rays can also come from an accumulation of small exposures, like walking your dog each day or driving in your car.
Now that beautiful weather is here, we’re all itching to get out of the house more. When you do, practice sun safety! Remember the Skin Cancer Foundation’s tips to protect your skin in the sun:
- Seek shade between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Don’t get sunburned.
- Avoid tanning and never use UV tanning beds.
- Cover up with clothing, a broad-brimmed hat, and UV-blocking sunglasses.
- Use a broad spectrum (UVA and UVB) sunscreen with a SPF of 15 or higher every day.
- For extended periods outside, use a water-resistant sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher. Apply 1 oz. (about two tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going out. Reapply sunscreen every two hours or after swimming or excessive sweating.
- Keep newborns out of the sun.
- Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
Consider scheduling an annual check-up with a dermatologist.