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Sun Protection

May I suggest, what with the current heatwave, that you consider some proper sun protection. Living here on the island, I am constantly amazed as to how ignorant and blasé some people are about the side effects of the sometimes intense Mediterranean sun. Not only does one run the risk of dehydration, heat exhaustion or a severe sunburn. A heat stroke can occur as well, or worse.

The Mallorcan populace is better used to wind and weather on the island than we are. Mallorcans see the heat of the Summer not as a friend. They avoid direct sun. They sit in the shade. Mallorcans build houses with small window areas to keep the heat out of the house. Mallorcans wear straw hats when out in the open. They avoid the midday heat at all cost. They protect themselves. They are pragmatic, shrewd and down-to-earth in matters of the sun.

The harmful effects of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays are often ignored or underestimated, as well. I suspect that the intensity of UV rays in Mallorca has increased over the last ten or so years. My inkling may be wrong, but believe me that repeated sun overexposure and burning can prematurely age the skin, causing yellowish, wrinkled skin. Overexposure can increase the risk of skin cancer, especially if a serious burn in childhood has occurred. If you think you can be oblivious to the dangers of extensive exposure to the sun, at least protect your children and/or grand children by covering their heads, arms and legs, and by applying protective sun blocker cream to their exposed skin, i. e. face, nose, forehead, neck, etc. If you want to take children to the beach, it would be best to do so early in the morning or later in the afternoon. Try to avoid the Mallorcan midday heat and direct sun if at all possible, especially now with temperatures above 30° C. And: make sure they – and you – drink plenty of water.

The photo was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: June 27th, 2010. The time was 12:46:00.

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