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Summer Sun Safety Tips

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Summer Sun Safety Tips

We are officially in the midst of summer! As you pack your beach bags, get your children ready for camp, and take time to soak up some Vitamin D, it’s important to remember to take steps to help protect yourself from the sun.

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a form of radiation emitted by the sun and artificial sources, such as tanning beds[1]. UV radiation has some benefits for people, like the creation of Vitamin D[1].  This is essential to human health because it helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus from food which assists bone development[1].

Short-term Effects of Sun Overexposure

Staying in the sun for too long, without the right protection, poses many risks. We’ve all had a sunburn before, but does that mean we’ve been overexposed? Sunburn is a sign of short-term overexposure, whereas premature aging and skin cancer are side effects of prolonged UV exposure[1].

In addition, some oral and topical medicines, such as antibiotics, birth control pills, and benzoyl peroxide products, as well as some cosmetics, may increase skin and eye sensitivity to UV in all skin types[1]. To help protect against this sensitivity, wear a wide brim hat to shade your face, head, ears, and neck.

To avoid sunburn and to protect your skin against UV radiation, use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 or higher[1].  And to avoid the risk of potentially blinding eye diseases from UV exposure, use sunglasses that wrap around your face.

Long-term Effects of Sun Overexposure

 The CDC says overexposure to UV radiation can lead to serious health issues, including cancer. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States.

The two most common types of skin cancer are basal cell cancer and squamous cell cancer. Typically, they form on the head, face, neck, hands, and arms because these body parts are the most exposed to UV radiation. Most cases of melanoma, the deadliest kind of skin cancer, are also caused by exposure to UV radiation.[1]

Anyone can get skin cancer, but it is more common in people who: spend a lot of time in the sun or have been sunburned, have light-color skin, hair, and eyes, have a family member with skin cancer, and/or are over age 50[1].

If you’re choosing to stay active outside this summer, it’s important to be mindful of UV radiation. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Be sure to apply sunscreen of at least SPF 50, every two hours. It’s important to wear a sunscreen with a high SPF when active in direct sunlight for a long period of time. It’s also important to reapply. Sunscreen is not waterproof and will come off when you sweat.  
  • Wear bright colors, they reflect the sun.
  • Be mindful of timing; 10am-3pm is known as the hottest time of the day in the summer, and when UV rays are strongest. Try to fit in any outdoor workouts before or after this time.

How AFSPA Can Help

Health Coaching Program

Foreign Service Benefit Plan (FSBP) members have access to the Health Coaching Program where you and your covered dependents can work one-on-one with a Health Coach to improve your health. A Health Coach is a health care professional who partners with you to transform your health goals into action. The Health Coaching Program works with clients to tackle different health related issues, including exercise. If you’re looking to stay active this summer, the Health Coaching Program provides a great fit.

To enroll in a program, contact a Health Coach at 855-406-5122 or 479-973-7168. Coaches are available Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m.– 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) and Friday from 8:00 a.m.– 6:00 p.m. ET. You may also enroll online at (passcode: FSBP).

Digital Coach Programs

Will regular phone conversations with a health coach just not fit your life, or your personality? Still want to make real change for your health? Try our digital program for online coaching. Our Digital Coach Programs offer coaching for a range of wellness related goals, including physical activity. If you’re looking to stay active this summer, the Digital Coach Programs are another great fit for FSBP members.

Workout Gear Discounts

Focusing on your physical wellness requires appropriate fitness apparel and shoes. That’s why we offer FSBP members discounts on the following brands:

  • Garmin
  • Fitbit
  • Withings
  • Theragun
  • Camp Gear
  • Scales powered by LifeMart
  • Gaiam
  • Camelbak
  • Maji Sports (includes yoga, Pilates, and fitness accessories such as yoga mat, bootie bands, resistance bands, meditation cushion, etc.)
  • Bosu products

To learn more about the discounts offered follow these steps:

  1. Log into Aetna’s secure member portal
  2. Click on “Stay Healthy”
  3. Select “Discounts”


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