Time spent in sunshine has many benefits. Natural sunlight is a great source of Vitamin D, which aids in the support of bones and teeth. As you age and bone and joint health become critical, Vitamin D can play an important role in your body’s mobility and flexibility. Summertime provides the warmth and inspiration for outdoor activities, but one must enjoy it safely.
Too much sun can lead to sunburn. Even if you apply sunblock before heading to the park or beach, be aware that prolonged exposure puts you at risk for a serious case of sun poisoning. While you are not “poisoned” in the literal sense, there is a level of toxicity that proves harmful to your health.
Symptoms of sun poisoning include headaches, skin irritation – the redness of a sunburn and even blistering – dehydration and dizziness. One can also experience joint pain after sitting outside without taking a break. If chronic pain in the knees, shoulders or other joints is already an issue, take care to look for other issues so your joint stiffness doesn’t worsen. Proper care after a day in the sun may aid skin burns and other side effects, including joint discomfort:
- Hydrate! Drink plenty of fluids, water preferred, to replenish your energy. Drinking well can also help lubricate your joints.
- Limit future outdoor expeditions, for about fifteen minutes at a time. Wear a hat or bring an umbrella for shade.
- Cool down with a damp cloth applied to affected areas.
- For serious headaches and skin irritations, consult your physician.
For more information on improving quality of life and reducing the pain associated with joint injury, aging, and illness, contact Bon Secours Virginia Orthopaedic & Spine Specialists. Our physicians and therapists are here to help.