• We've all been there.....you head to the beach, or out to a sports game, slap on some sunscreen, and sit back to enjoy. It isn't until you get back into the car that you notice you may have "gotten a little too much sun."  This can range from a slight burn in which you notice pinker or brighter pink hued skin where your skin was exposed all the way to darker pink or red that forms small blisters, then dries and flakes off. Have you ever wondered why even minor sunburn is considered a bad thing? To put it simply, burns are caused by the ultraviolet radiation rays of the sun (UV). Even small exposure can cause your cells that make up your skin to make small genetic changes because of this exposure to radiation. The cells structure changes and this change starts multiplying as the cell does. Enough small changes in the genetic structure of your cells and you have a cancer. That's what cancer is in its most basic form- a change in the structure and/or production of cells. The picture below is of an athelete's sunburn with blister formation. 

    Blister Burn    OUCH!

    Arizona is loved by many for its warm, dry climate and approximately 295 days of sunny or partially sunny skies. While this means we in Arizona often have adequate exposure to get our dose of Vitamin D and we may not suffer with as many cases of seasonal affective disorder, it also means that we may be prone to many adverse affects related to heat and sun. Two of the possible effects are heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Most of us have heard the warnings not to exert physically without water, but how many times have we possibly risked it if we didn't have water handy or weren't feeling any effects of dehydration? The progression from dehydration, to exhaustion, to stroke can be quick and unanticipated. 

    Heat Info

    Be aware that high school athletes in Arizona who practice outside in the hot weather need to take extra care, especially if they are wearing protective gear and uniforms that cause them to get hot and keep heat in. Ways to help cool down the body and lessen the chances of getting heat exhaustion can be loose clothing or removing helmets when not practicing, standing in the shade, frequently sipping cold water, applying cooling towels to neck and head, and applying cold packs/ice to exposed areas of skin. ANY signs that an individual isn't able to focus, appears to be slurring their words or not able to express themselves, or can't maintain balance means that 911 should be called immediately. Heat stroke can lead to disability and death.