For those who love spending time outdoors, longer summer days mean more sun exposure and more exposure to extreme heat. Whether your summer fun is relaxing on the lanai, wallowing by the pool or babysitting the smoker on the deck, during these months, the sun’s rays and their intrinsic heat can be overwhelming without some cooling effects for your outdoor living space. With myriad options to introduce some shade in the backyard, what is the best way to beat the heat this summer?
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Heat and Sun Exposure Effects
Anyone who has spent too long on the beach or on the golf course knows all too well the impacts of excessive heat exposure. Ranging from heat stroke, to heat exhaustion, even cramps and rashes, summer’s heat can be a blessing and a curse for those who enjoy the outdoors. Combining excessive heat with the sun exposure effects can make spending time outdoors without the proper shade retreat potentially dangerous.
The experts at FamilyDoctor.org recommend wearing sunscreen and other methods to limit exposure of the skin but also to plan for your daily sun exposure. To mitigate heat exhaustion, the experts at the Mayo Clinic suggest several tactics, including taking it easy during the hottest parts of the day and drinking plenty of fluids. This brings us back to the need to create cooling elements for your outdoor living space.>
What are the Effects of Sun Exposure?
Getting the right amount of sun is a delicate balance for humans. Some sun exposure is important in regulating your internal clock to manage sleeping patterns, and helps your skin make Vitamin D which is necessary for good bone function and health.
What are the effects of sun exposure on a more scientific level? Well, the sun’s rays are a combination of long and short waves, some visible (as light) others that are invisible. It’s the invisible waves that are concerning for skin health. These waves are more commonly referred to as ultraviolet waves, and fall into two categories, UVA and UVB waves. The UVB waves are what cause your sunburn, the UVA waves penetrate the skin more deeply, and both can cause health issues. More importantly, as we age the skin’s ability to repair this damage on its own diminishes. So, prevention is worth a pound of cure, especially as you advance age.
According to FamilyDoctor.org, too much sun exposure can be harmful. Sun exposure effects can lead to skin changes resulting in freckles or moles, potentially dangerous, lowered immune system responses, skin cancers that, if left untreated, can cause longer-term health issues, and perhaps just as scary, early aging as the skin turns leathery from too much exposure.
What Effects of Sun Exposure are Immediate?
As mentioned earlier, some sun exposure is a good thing, but what effects of sun exposure are immediate? Certainly, over-exposure can lead to some immediate, though short-term pain, most obviously in the form of sunburn. While you would be hard-pressed to find anyone who has evaded the inevitable sunburn of the first days of summer, or a winter time beach vacation, repeated sun burning can compound skin damage. The cumulative effect of repeated sunburns, especially during childhood, can increase the potential for skin cancers to develop.
What are the Long-Term Effects of Sun Exposure?
The long-term effects of repeated and prolonged sun exposure can be quite scary. What are the long-term effects of sun exposure, you ask? Most prevalent of those effects being skin cancer. Actually, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States.
Your head, face, neck, hands and arms are most susceptible to developing skin cancer. These are the areas most exposed to the damaging UVA and UVB rays. While UV rays can negatively impact anyone, some people are more at-risk than others, including:
- People who spend extended periods outdoors or develop sun burns often
- People with light-colored eyes, skin or hair
- Users of some common medications such as antibiotics and birth control, as well as some cosmetics products
- Individuals with a family history of skin cancer
- People over the age of 50
If you fit any of these at-risk categories, you likely already have regular discussions with your medical professionals about your personal health choices. In addition to those medical decisions, you can also take steps to mitigate your sun exposure when enjoying the outdoors.
Shade, The Easiest Way to Cool an Outdoor Space
Cooling effects for your backyard patio or deck can came in innumerable forms from a dip in the pool to high-speed outdoor fans or even misting machines. But, the easiest way to cool down on a hot day is to simply relax in the shade and rehydrate will a cool drink. While air temperatures do not actually change between the sunny and shady areas, escaping the sun’s harmful rays can make the “feels like” temperature drop by 10-15 degrees.
How to Create Shade in the Backyard for the Whole Family
Adding some shade in the backyard can take many forms. A shade cover for just a couple people can be as simple as popping up a portable patio umbrella or stringing a sun shade over the patio. But, to ensure the entire family can seek refuge from the sun, a larger and more permanent shade solution may be in order. The most dynamic and flexible shade structure to accommodate the entire family is a pergola. Modern pergolas are available as solid-roof designs that create full-time shade, or with an adjustable louvered roof design that allows you to control the sun/shade balance on your patio. Pergolas are also infinitely scalable from a small 5-foot by 5-foot footprint from a DIY kit up to hundreds of square feet of shade in the backyard with a custom design.
High Tech Cooling Effects for Shade in the Backyard
More than just a way to create shade in the backyard, aluminum pergolas can bring many relaxation amenities to your outdoor living space. Our customized pergolas can be outfitted with embedded LED lighting, motorized retractable sun shades, integrated patio fans, and much more. The motorized louvered roof can be controlled by handheld remote, or become a completely hands-free voice activated pergola that integrates with your smart home devices. To take the pergola controls to the next level, smart pergolas can even incorporate sensors that monitor the weather and autonomously close when a passing shower approaches.
Of course, all of this technology requires a power source. If the pergola is attached to the home, simply wiring the new shade structure to your home’s electrical is quite easy. For standalone pergolas built further from the house, pergola solar panels can be integrated with the design to provide more than enough power for the pergola operation and still feed accessory outlets to charge your phone or power a pellet grill.
Good old-fashioned shade in the backyard is one of the best options if you are looking for the best way to beat the summer heat and avoid excessive heat or sun exposure. However, for homeowners looking to make that shade structure a luxurious and stylish addition to their home, a pergola system is an ideal solution. If you would like to explore adding an outdoor structure to your backyard, contact us today and we will have one of our local experts reach out to you.