Getting out in the sun is generally assumed to be a good thing for our overall wellness. Most Americans are lacking in the vitamin D, which our bodies can synthesize from sunlight, and being outdoors has been shown to have tremendous benefits for our health and longevity.
However, it is possible to get too much of a good thing. When we spend time outside we’re at risk of sunburn, which negatively impacts heart health. Here’s what you need to know about how sunburn can impact heart health, and the steps you need to take to protect yourself.
Can Sunburn Affect Your Heart?
Sunburn affects your heart in a variety of ways. Recent studies have shown that sunburn can temporarily increase your heart rate, which can put strain on you if you have a preexisting condition. Your heart rate skyrockets as your body works overtime to cool your body by circulating blood through your arteries, causing damage and stress to your veins.
Sunburn is also associated with dehydration, which has a negative impact on heart health. Too much sun exposure has an overall negative impact on heart health, leading to heart strain, heart attacks, and strokes.
Sun Stroke Symptoms
Concerned you might be suffering from sun stroke? Here are the symptoms to look out for:
- An elevated temperature of 104 F or higher
- Either increased or diminished sweating
- Nausea or vomiting
- An altered mental state. You may feel confused, irritable, or agitated
- Slurred speech
- Red, flushed skin
- A throbbing headache
- Rapid, shallow breathing
- A racing heart
Heat Stroke Symptoms
Even if you’re careful to stay out of direct sunlight, your heart health still might be suffering from too much heat. Sun stroke and heat stroke are the same condition by different names, so don’t be fooled. You can suffer from this dangerous syndrome even in the shade.
Dehydration is one of the primary reasons sunstroke/heat stroke can be so dangerous. Here’s how to tell if you might be suffering from a lack of fluids:
- Dark colored urine
- Lips, mouth, and eyes that are dryer than usual
How to Treat Sunburn
The best way to avoid the dangers of sunburn is staying out of the sun, but if it’s too late here’s how to treat it.
- Drink extra water as you recover
- Take an over the counter pain reliever
- Cool the skin with a cool baking soda bath or compress
- Apply aloe vera gel, moisturizer, lotion, or after sun gel
- Avoid handling blisters or peeling skin
- Stay out of the sun while you heal
How to Prevent Sunburn
To prevent your body from working too hard in the heat, practicing sun safety is key. Here are the steps you can take to keep your heart safe this summer:
- Stay in the shade as much as possible
- Wear loose fitting, light clothing that covers the body
- Add a sun hat and sunglasses to your outfit
- Always wear sunscreen
- Wear Wellow compression socks to help blood circulate, more effectively cooling the body
- Avoid going out during the hottest parts of the day