In Praise of the Hat

by Tracy Poizner  |  21.06.16 | 17:34

A hat is the very best sun protection there is. It is like finding a shady spot everywhere you walk. Most importantly, a hat with a good brim almost eliminates the need for sunglasses. Let me explain why this is important.

Sunglasses trick your eyes by reducing the amount of ultraviolet rays that reach your retina. Your body thinks it is darker outside than it really is, and does not produce the right amount of melanin for your skin to tan properly. This can cause you to burn more easily and of course burning your skin can eventually make you more likely to develop skin cancer later on.

If it is sunny enough for sunglasses, you should be wearing a hat. Of course, the one exception is driving a car or other vehicle when your eyes need to be protected from glare in order to be safe on the road. Sunglasses do protect our eyes, but it’s not a good idea to rely on them as a habit every time it is sunny outside. See if a hat will do the job, you might be pleasantly surprised.

Naturally, the brim of a hat keeps our nose and cheeks from getting sunburned, so we can reduce the need for sunscreen as well. Many parents buy special swimsuits for their kids to keep their shoulders and backs covered and protected from the sun, but they forget about the hat!

The other good reason to make a habit of wearing a hat in summer is that it helps avoid heatstroke. This is especially important for small children, who are prone to heatstroke but it’s hard for parents to know it is happening until it’s well underway. Kids can get overheated easily and it can make them irritable, or sleepy and lethargic. It can also cause dehydration, tummy ache and diarrhea. An unexplained fever on a hot day can also be caused by too much sun.

In case you or a little one gets a sunburn or heat stroke with pounding headache, consider the homeopathic remedy Belladonna. In a 6C or 30C potency, a few pellets dissolved in water and sipped every few minutes can help reduce the burning heat and help the body as it tries to regulate its internal temperature.  Don’t forget to replace lost electrolytes from too much sweating – coconut water is ideal because it has natural sugars and all the minerals you need. You can buy small tetra-paks which are handy to have in a back pack on every outing.

Keep an extra hat for your little one in the car, or in your purse for days when you leave the house without one. You can even keep an extra one for yourself!

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