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Nearly half of all Americans participate in at least one outdoor activity each year, according to statistics from the Outdoor Foundation. And while many of those exercising outdoors take necessary precautions to reduce their risk for injury, they are not always as dedicated to skin protection.
"It's ironic that protecting exposed skin is overlooked by so many outdoor enthusiasts otherwise committed to their health and wellness," says Brevard, Florida-based dermatologist, Dr. Richard C. Kirkpatrick.
During the long days of summer, outdoor enthusiasts should take the following steps to avoid bites, burns and more.
Mosquito bites are not just a nuisance; they are associated with Dengue Fever, Zika, West Nile and Chikungunya viruses. Ward off itch, discomfort and more serious threats by avoiding standing water whenever possible, and dressing in loose long sleeves and pants.
Use a DEET-free repellent such as BullFrog Mosquito Coast, which repels mosquitoes for up to eight hours. The formula is a particularly good option for outdoor enthusiasts. Unlike DEET formulations, there is no need to wash it off when returning indoors. Different from repellent alone, it also offers SPF 30 sun protection, so you can pack light when you're on the move.
One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime, and men ages 15 to 39 are 55 percent more likely to die of melanoma than women in the same age group. However, a recent survey from Bullfrog Sunscreen found that while 85 percent of male outdoor sports enthusiasts ages 18 to 54 claim their prime motivation for engaging in outdoor sports is "health and wellness," two in 10 respondents do not use sunscreen at all. Of the remaining 80 percent who said they do use sunscreen, 56 percent use it only occasionally.
Those spending time outdoors should wear a hat and apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen 15 minutes before going outside, and then reapply at least every two hours or after swimming, sweating and immediately after towel drying. A breathable, sweat-resistant formula like BullFrog Land Sport is ideal for tennis, golf and other land sports, while an advanced water-resistant formula should be used for swimming and other water sports.
While the warmer months are a great time for all your favorite outdoor activities, from hiking to swimming to camping, this time of year comes with its own health hazards. Luckily, there are many steps you can take to protect skin.