The sun is the main source of warmth, energy and light on Earth. Most of us like sunlight as it brightens our day and boosts our mood. Furthermore, growing evidence tells us that sunlight offers various health benefits.
While the sun offers many health benefits, it can also cause health problems some of which are serious.
What we are talking about here is indeed unprotected and excessive sun exposure.
Unprotected and excessive sun exposure can bring about harmful effects on the human body, particularly in the long term.
Some of these harmful effects of the sun are not too severe though. But in some cases, unprotected and excessive exposure to UV rays can cause serious health problems, one example is skin cancer.
Being aware of the harmful effects of sun exposure is the first step to protecting ourselves against these harmful effects.
We compiled 6 main harmful effects of the sun. These consequences remind us why we should be careful against the sun and its UV rays.
1- Heat Exhaustion
As the name implies, heat exhaustion occurs when someone exposes to high temperatures.
Being exposed to the sun’s UV rays for a long time without protection is one of the main causes of heat exhaustion.
Due to high temperatures, the body loses a substantial amount of water and salt. And, that brings about certain symptoms in the body.
According to Mayo Clinic, the main symptoms of heat exhaustion include; heavy sweating, a rapid pulse, nausea, headache and muscle cramps (1).
Heat exhaustion is the previous stage of heatstroke and is not as dangerous as heatstroke.
Nevertheless, it is vital to cool down the body before the condition turns into a more serious problem.
Resting in a cool place, and drinking cool fluids (water is the best option) will be enough to bounce back.
On hot summer days, we can get heat exhaustion due to high temperatures.
2- Damaged Eyes
Since the sun’s UV rays can severely damage eye health, at every opportunity eye doctors underline the importance of wearing sunglasses.
So to speak; years-long unprotected sun exposure can take a toll on the eyes.
According to Roski Eye Institute, UV rays can cause blurred vision, light sensitivity, excessive tearing and even blindness (2).
These harmful effects of UV rays on the eyes may not emerge quickly. However, in the long term, the above-given vision problems can happen and they tend to be permanent.
In light of this, we all should avoid staring at the sun and always wear sunglasses regardless of the season. In this way, we can prevent potential damage to the eyes caused by the sun.
Heatstroke, as we indicated above, can be defined as the next phase of heat exhaustion. Therefore, it is safe to say that heatstroke is a more serious condition compared to heat exhaustion.
Particularly children and elderly people over age 65 are susceptible to heatstroke. For this reason, both infants and children have to be protected on hot summer days when the sun is overhead.
It bears repeating heatstroke can be detrimental. Therefore, it has to be treated right away.
According to Mayo Clinic, Heatstroke symptoms include;
– High Body Temperature ( 40 C- 104 F or higher )
– Confusion, slurred speech
– Excess Sweating
– Rapid Heart rate and breathing
– Nausea and vomiting
Heatstroke occurs due to hot temperatures and vigorous physical activity. Sunlight can be strong enough to cause heatstroke, particularly in elders and infants.
From experiences, we all know this particular impact of unprotected sun exposure.
Sunburn is one of the most common effects of unprotected sun exposure.
Everyone one of us can get sunburn every now on then. Therefore, it may appear normal and harmless to us.
However, the reality is sunburn can cause serious problems. According to experts, sunburns can set the stage for skin cancer that happen later in life (3).
We all should use sunscreen, especially on hot summer days at the beach.
5- Skin Cancer
Admittedly, skin cancer is the ultimate and worst consequence of the sun’s ultraviolet rays (4).
Years-long unprotected sun exposure is associated with melanoma, which is the most dangerous type of skin cancer (4).
As much as it ( the sun ) seems lovely, we shouldn’t forget that it can cause detrimental consequences if we don’t protect our skin.
The sun’s UV rays can take a toll on our appearance as well if we don’t play safely.
UV rays can hurt our appearance by causing wrinkles, even though wrinkles are inevitable as getting older.
We all adore the sun. Let’s enjoy the sun by protecting ourselves.
Tarkan is an experienced health writer ( currently more than 600 articles ) and also the founder of this website namely www.neededforhealth.com. His expertise in health stems from in-depth medical research and knowledge which he obtained over the course of many years.
Tarkan enjoys sharing factual knowledge on health, psychology and nutrition. He always aims to deliver evidence-based recommendations, provide links to related scientific studies.