Use a Beach Umbrella for Sun Protection

Posted by Chad Melius on Monday 6 June 2011

Are you planning to spend some time at the beach? It’s a great way to relax, and try to forget the frequent tensions of your regular job. You need some time to unwind in order to go back to work refreshed, and ready to attack new problems with a new enthusiasm.

Going to the beach is a treat for the whole family – sunbathing and playing in the sand and water. But don’t forget to take precautions against those harmful sun’s rays. You don’t want to ruin your good time with a painful burn.

Children’s tender skin especially needs to be protected, as it is easily burned. And even adults need to get out or the sun from time to time, when it starts to get too hot sunbathing. Going into the water can help you cool off, but it doesn’t protect you from getting a sunburn.

Get a beach umbrella

There are myriad ways to get out of the sun when it gets to be too much. You could go home early ( just kidding! ), or you could go to beach bar to have a drink and sit in the shade. Maybe there’s a nice palm tree to sit under. But one simple way to get out of the sun is to sit under a beach umbrella.

You can often find a concession near the beach that rents umbrellas for a reasonable fee. But it’s probably best to buy one to carry with you. That way you can be sure to have one, even if they run out at the beach hut.

What kind of beach umbrella?

When selecting an umbrella to use at the beach, take care to buy one that will work properly and last for a few seasons. What should you look for:

  • Vents: If the umbrella material is not vented, it’s likely to turn inside out in a gust of wind.
  • Anchor: A corkscrew anchor will let you drill the umbrella stand into the sand, to help keep it from blowing away.
  • Strong ribs: Wooden ribs are the best, but they tend to be expensive. Fiberglass works fine as an alternative.
  • UV protected material: Canvas is a good strong fabric, but it should be treated, or lined with aluminum, to help keep ultraviolet rays from penetrating the canopy. Check the UPF ( Ultraviolet Protection Factor ) rating: 25 – 39 is very good; 40 and up is excellent.

Beach umbrellas aren’t perfect

Scientists have discovered that, even though canvas provides some protection against the sun’s rays, 34% of UV radiation ends up underneath the umbrella. Only a small percentage of this comes through the canvas. The rest is due to radiation coming indirectly by scattering from particles in the air ( the blue color of the sky is caused by this ), and reflection from the sand.

Since umbrellas do not completely protect you, it’s necessary to use other methods to block UV radiation. These include clothing, wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, and suntan creams. You should also avoid those times of day when the sun is near its zenith, as its rays are then passing through less atmosphere, thereby stiking the earth ( and you ) with greater intensity.

Get one anyway

As long as you know their limitations, it’s still a sensible idea to get a beach umbrella for your family to use as temporary shade. It’s better than the alternative!

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