Test your savvy | Dr. Mark Sayed
By: John Swartzberg M.D.
- Which of the following foods/beverages can help cool you off?
(a) Hot Tea, (b) ginger, (c) chili peppers, (d) cold water
2. True or false: If you sit under a beach umbrella, you can skip the sunscreen.
3. True or false: You cannot get sunburned through closed car windows.
- (all) Though it sounds counterintuitive, hot tea may help on a hot dry day by making you sweat more. Certain nerve receptors in the mouth are activated by heat, which can trigger the brain’s thermoregulatory center to induce sweating. Evaporation of sweat cools the skin and helps lower body temperature. (In highly humid environments, however, sweat doesn’t evaporate as well from the skin, in which case a cold beverage is a better option.) Eating hot/spicy foods, like chili and ginger, activates the same nerve receptors.
2. (false). Umbrellas block direct UV rays from the sun – but not all diffuse radiation, which can also harm skin and eyes. A 2011 Spanish study found that as much as one-third of UV still reached the base of an umbrella that was three fee wide and almost five feet tall. Keep in mind also that beach umbrellas vary in how much direct UV they block. Some come with a UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) rating; a UPF of 50+ filters out 98 percent of UV.
3.(true) But all you can get other kinds of UV damage. Clear glass screens out nearly all UVB (most responsible for sunburn), but only windshields are treated to block UVA. People who drive a lot have a higher risk of developing skin cancer on the left side. If you are in a car for long hours on sunny days, wear long sleeves and/or use a broad-spectrum sunscreen, especially if you burn easily. You can also have the side and rear windows treated to block nearly all UV rays.