As Central Florida celebrates the first day of summer, Orange County Parks and Recreation and Orlando Health UF Health Cancer Center with Seminole County Parks and Recreation, have announced that they are bringing sunscreen stations to 15 Central Florida parks.
“Since installing the sunscreen dispensers in several parks, we have had positive feedback from visitors,” said Matt Suedmeyer, manager of Orange County Parks and Recreation. “Thanks to Orlando Health, guests can have a little extra sun protection.”
Park attendees now have the opportunity to protect themselves from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays as part of an initiative to help prevent skin cancer and other effects of extended sunlight exposure. Nine Orange County parks now hold a total of 18 sunscreen stations:
- Barnett Park
- Cypress Grove Park
- Downey Park
- Dr. P. Phillips Community Park
- Fort Gatlin Recreation Complex
- George Bailey Park
- Kelly Park (Rock Springs)
- Chapin Station (West Orange Trail)
- Moss Park
Most sunscreen products work by reflecting or scattering sunlight to protect the skin from UV rays. The sun’s UV rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes. Be aware that sunburn and sun damage can occur even on cloudy days. Increased exposure to UV radiation increases during the summer months between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Residents are encouraged to put on broad spectrum sunscreen before they go outside, even on slightly cloudy or cooler days. Don’t forget to put a thick layer on all parts of exposed skin. Serious burns are painful, and the skin may be red, tender, swollen, and blistered. These sunburns may be accompanied by fever, headache, itching, and malaise.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, sun exposure is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer. Cumulative overexposure to the sun leads to premature aging of the skin, including wrinkling and age spots and an increased risk for skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Repeated exposure to sunlight in the eyes can also result in cataracts and macular degeneration.
During the hot summer months, residents are also advised to educate themselves on heatstroke and heat exhaustion, which is caused when your body overheats during prolonged exposure to the outdoors.
According to the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, extreme weakness or fatigue, dizziness and confusion, nausea, clammy and moist skin, pale or flushed complexion, muscle cramps, slightly elevated body temperature and fast or shallow breathing.
Symptoms of heat stroke include extremely high body temperatures, hot and dry skin, profuse sweating, hallucinations, chills, throbbing headache, confusion or dizziness and slurred speech.
For more tips on how to stay cool, hydrated and informed visit the Florida Department of Health’s website.