If you are visiting Sarasota or Siesta Key from another part of the country, it can be easy to underestimate how strong the sun’s rays can be. The sun can be particularly intense when it reflects off water – and it can be difficult to gauge just how hot you can become. There is no surer way to ruin a trip than to suffer from sunburn or heatstroke. So, although our area is beautiful and exceptionally vacation-worthy, it is important to make sure you understand how to protect yourself.

kayaking in Sarasota

Here are some precautions Floridians swear by that will help you to have an enjoyable and safe visit.

Dangers of Florida Sun

Please note that this blog is meant to provide general information, not individual medical advice. If you have any concerns, seek the advice of a medical professional as soon as possible.

Sunburn: Sunburn is caused by excess exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. The radiation directly damages the DNA in skin cells, triggering an inflammatory response. Symptoms are reddish skin, pain, swelling, and hot skin temperatures, all of which are most severe between 6 and 48 hours after exposure. Sunburn is typically self-treated, but if you experience a rash, nausea, fever, dizziness, blistering, oozing, or dehydration, you may wish to see a doctor.

Dehydration: Dehydration occurs when the body loses too many fluids or electrolytes.
Most healthy people can tolerate between a 3% to 4% loss of body water without symptoms, but over that level symptoms may occur. These include dizziness, headaches, and fatigue. If water loss exceeds 10%, severe symptoms can develop, including disorientation and, in severe cases, seizures.

Heatstroke/ Heat Exhaustion: Heat exhaustion occurs when the body’s core temperature rises several degrees over normal on hot, humid days. Dehydration, obesity, and overexertion significantly increase the risk of heat exhaustion, which can also be aggravated by alcohol or caffeine use. Babies and the elderly are at greatest risk, as their bodies aren’t as proficient at regulating temperature changes. Heat exhaustion symptoms include elevated body temperature, dizziness, headache, nausea, thirst, weakness, profuse sweating, decreased urination, and vomiting.

Tips to Protect Yourself Against Sunburn and Heatstroke

Clothing: While it may seem counterintuitive, you will be safer and more comfortable if you cover up when outside. Choose lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that covers your skin but lets the airflow through. Light cotton shirts or blouses when walking about town, dri-fit UV-protected shirts when kayaking or biking, or coverups when at the beach – they all ensure that your skin does not get overexposed to the sun. Wear a hat and sunglasses when outdoors, especially on the water. Expert Tip: take sunrise or sunset kayak trips to avoid the brunt of the sunshine.

Sunscreen: Sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool down and can cause dehydration.
Individuals should apply sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher 30 minutes before going out and continue to reapply according to the package directions, as well as after swimming or sweating. Broad-spectrum or “UVA/UVB protection” products work best.

Hydration: Be sure to drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated throughout the day – even if you don’t feel thirsty. Avoid sugary or alcoholic drinks that aggravate dehydration and very cold drinks, which can cause stomach cramps. Because heavy sweating can cause the loss of salt and minerals, consider alternating electrolyte-replacing drinks and water. Important: If your doctor restricts your water intake or requires water pills, ask for their advice before your vacation.

If Dehydration or Heatstroke Occurs

You should always venture out with other people, as these types of conditions can cause disorientation and confusion.

If anyone begins to show signs of dehydration or heatstroke, cease all strenuous activity immediately. Find a cool, covered, or shady area to rest and slowly sip water or electrolytes. If symptoms do not begin to ease, see a doctor immediately.

Ride and Paddle Helps You Have the Best Vacation

At Ride and Paddle, we understand how amazing life on Siesta Key can be. With just a few precautions, you can safely enjoy an exciting kayaking adventure, a leisurely bike ride, or a family day at the beach.

We love living here, and we know you’ll love it too. Welcome to Sarasota!