Feel the warming sunbeams on your skin, swim a lap in the sea and then sink into a good book: that sounds like a perfect summer day in hot temperatures ... But our skin is often caught of guard during this holiday programme: sun, salt water, sweat and insect bites are very hard on it. A first-aid guide for sun worshippers and outdoor athletes.
- Sun - when it gets too much for the skin
- Stitches - when bees, midges and wasps sting
- Foot warts and athlete's foot - the invisible guests in the swimming pool
- Salt water - better take a quick shower
- Sports - how to train despite tropical temperatures
The intensity of the sun is often underestimated. But too much UV radiation can lead to sunburn within a few minutes. Especially fair-skinned people are affected, but also children with their still quite thin skin and anyone who stays too long (unprotected) in the sun.
In fact, it is sufficient to follow this basic rule of sun protection: plenty of shade, plenty of sunscreen and plenty of clothing. If you want to do something for your well-being and avoid damaging your skin by UV rays, you should go into the shade as often as possible, apply sunscreen regularly and generously before and during sunbathing and ideally wear (additional) protective clothing. This is because UV rays also penetrate parasols, sun sails and even clothing.
After a long day at the hotel pool or on the beach, a sunburn often does not become noticeable until the evening. The skin reacts with redness, itching and pain. Although you can relieve these symptoms and skin regeneration repairs the superficial damage, the cells in the epidermis (and sometimes even those of the underlying dermis) are damaged. The really serious effects often only become apparent years later: with every sunburn, the risk of developing skin cancer one day increases. This is why adequate sun protection is so important.
The most important first aid measure for sunburn: Get out of the sun immediately to avoid further damage and to give the skin a chance to regenerate. And for the next few days, too, it is better to stay in the shade and cover the reddened skin with airy clothing. Complete skin regeneration can even take up to two weeks.
And this also helps with sunburn: a lukewarm (not cold!) shower draws the heat out of the body. Also pleasant: Apply a cooling aloe vera gel (you can also make this yourself by getting a delicate plant and, if necessary, simply cut off a piece and spread it over the skin in pure form).
Finally we spend a lot of time outside again. In the evening, let the day end on the balcony, relax in the park on weekends or stroll around in the summer holiday and discover new things. It's fantastic. If only there weren't these insects that keep us on our toes.
What attracts the bees and wasps to us is often our richly laid dining table. Here it helps to be attentive: eat and drink food and drinks inside the house if possible or always cover them well outside so that no little animals get lost in them - and you don't swallow them accidentally.
Mosquito bites can also spoil our summer fun. The unpleasant itching is caused by proteins in the saliva of the bloodsucker, which prevent blood clotting and activate our body to release histamine. Unfortunately, this also triggers the annoying itching and swelling.
What really helps with insect bites? Long, airy clothes keep mosquitoes and co. at bay quite well. However, if you are stung, it helps to cool the affected area.
The reverse principle is used by so-called thermal bite healers. The pen-sized devices have a hot ceramic surface that is held in place for a few seconds to stop the bite. This slows down the itching and also swelling disappears. Since the device does not use any chemicals at all, it is also suitable for children, allergy sufferers and people with sensitive skin.
Finally sunshine, finally outdoor pool again. But be careful! This is where uninvited guests lurk: fungal pathogens that attach themselves to the feet of pool visitors, preferably between the toes. A fungal infection should be treated quickly before it spreads further. So if you notice itching, redness or even blisters, take antimycotics.
Another unwanted reminder of the bathing trip are foot warts. They are transmitted by human papillomaviruses, which are found in swimming pools, open-air pools, saunas and communal showers. Plantar warts can be removed by salicylic acid or by icing.
To avoid getting infected in the first place, it is best to always wear slippers.
Salt water can also stress the skin and hair. Especially in combination with strong sunlight, it is a real stress test. Anyone who spends a long time on the beach, perhaps even for many days, should regularly rinse the salt water off their skin. And then of course apply cream again quickly.
It's really fun to work out in the fresh air. But always take care not to overdo it. Listen to your body and train moderately. You may want to choose a sport that is suitable for summer temperatures and does not put too much strain on your circulation.
Try to exercise in the shade as much as possible. Protect yourself from the sun: a waterproof sunscreen (because of the sweat) with a high sun protection factor is ideal, a light baseball cap keeps your head cool.
Ideally, you should exercise at times when the temperature and ozone levels are not as high as in the early morning hours until around 8:30 am or in the late evening.
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Picture: istockphoto | Wavebreakmedia, Mykola Sosiukin