No Bugles

Sun Making You Sick? Could Be

Sun lovers listen up. If you find yourself getting sick from flu-like symptoms after spending two or three hours in the noon day sun you might have UV related immune response.
UV is good in small doses but it is the major cause of sun related disease such as skin cancer, eye problems such as cataracts, and the flu.
I’m not a sun worshipper so I don’t consciously spend much time in the sun. I recently caught flu-like symptoms after a brief outing in my friend’s borrowed Mazda Miata. You don’t realize how intense the sun is when you’re trapped in the driver’s seat for several hours, sun beating down on you.
Turns out that is enough to make you sick. How? Simple. UV suppresses your immune system by getting absorbed by your skin. Dormant viruses like Herpes Simplex 1 reside in places like your lips. Let your lips dry out (ever wonder how Chap Stick works?) and you’ll get cold sores on your lips. These sores can spread inside your mouth. It’s a serious bug and not one you want to get.
If you harbour other bugs like a flu virus in your throat or nasal area, your lowered immune system caused by the UV will allow these bugs to come to life and wreak havoc. In my case, a summer flu. Runny nose, sore throat, cough, general lethargy. Classic cold or flu (both are the same thing).
This has happened to me several times but only this last one made me realize the culprit was UV from being out in the summer sun too long. The first time was a trip to Seattle when I found myself on my back sicker than a dog. I blamed food poisoning among other things but I’m certain now the coincidence of being out in the sun and getting the same flu-type illness made sense.
For me now, I’ll be getting a wide brimmed hat to keep my head and shoulders in the shade. In winter a peaked (baseball style) hat will suffice since most of me is otherwise covered with coat and scarf.
Seems our face, being baldly out in the open, can invite UV to cause problems with our health. UV, among other damaging properties, ages the skin so it makes sense to avoid UV as much as possible. They sun tan lotion helps but frankly, not being sun obsessed, I’ll just conveniently shy away from mid-day outdoor activities and keep that to evenings when the danger has mostly passed. Who likes broiling in the sun at twelve o’clock high anyway.

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