Challenges to outdoor fun during Florida’s summer: Sun, Heat and Bugs

August 4, 2023

This summer in Florida has been particularly hot and buggy. To even enjoy a stroll through a local park can seem daunting. Between protecting yourself from the damaging rays of the Sun, staying cool and biting mosquitos, even a short time out is a challenge. Read on to learn some ways to make your adventure more enjoyable.

Sun: Protect yourself.

When it comes to Sun protection, more is not always better. Many will seek out the highest SPF rating sunscreen for maximum protection. The problem with high SPF sunscreens is that they feel heavier on the skin and being uncomfortable when it’s hot. There is could also be a false sense of security which would lead one to think reapplication is unnecessary.

The FDA recommends an SPF of 15 or higher even on cloudy days. Damaging UV light can penetrate clouds. Sunscreen should also be broad spectrum meaning it protects against both types of UV radiation. It is important to understand what SPF means. It is defined by the FDA as “a measure of how much solar energy (UV radiation) is required to produce sunburn on protected skin (i.e., in the presence of sunscreen) relative to the amount of solar energy required to produce sunburn on unprotected skin.” The amount of radiation varies from person to person. Even those with dark skin are still susceptible to UV damage and should use sunscreen.

Reapplication is key to the use of sunscreen as it will sweat off becoming less effective. Some will think using an extremely high SPF that they don’t need to reapply and that is dangerous. For this reason, it is important to use other methods to protect oneself from the sun. Clothing can be used to cover up and is rated using the UPF scale. It indicates how much UV radiation penetrates. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends 30 or more. At 30 UPF, 1/30th penetrates meaning that 96.7% is blocked. Many will look for the highest UPF factor of 50 which blocks 98%.

Heat: Protect yourself again.

Along with Sun comes heat and of course the recommendation is to hydrate. Drink lots of water but also consider electrolyte drinks. Our bodies sweat to help us regulate our body temperature. Doing so leads to depletion of necessary salts our body needs to function properly.

One can also seek places to adventure which are cooler. Look for shaded trails which can reduce temperature 20° Fahrenheit. Seeking a location with onshore breezes can also help.

Be mindful of what you wear. If you choose to wear long sleeve shirts and pants, the highest UPF factor can be warmer. Going from a 50 to a 30 UPF will be cooler and only reduce the radiation blocked by 1.3%. If you choose short sleeve and shorts, extremely high SPF sunscreens can feel hotter.

Bugs: Don’t let them bite you.

Mosquitos and ticks can be more active when it is hotter outside. Be prepared by treating your adventure clothing with Permethrin which will make your apparel insect repellant for up to six washings. Treat exposed skin with Deet or Picaridin. If you choose a more natural repellant, reapply often as they don’t last as long as traditional repellants.

Adventure on…

Specialty outdoor retailers like Bill Jackson’s Shop for Adventure stock everything you need to protect yourself allowing you to get outside. Go ahead and adventure but be realistic and be prepared. If you have any questions, call us at 727-576-4169 or email at adventure@billjacksons.com.