Tuesday, Jul 08 2014 01:25 PM

Guest Commentary: Don't let the summer sun bite

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Billy Moses

It's not very often that I get burned, but when I do I have to own up to my mistakes. It's what my family has always taught me. It's the right thing to do.

On Tuesday, when I got out of my car and realized I had a red patch of mysterious soreness on my shoulder I realized I was about to deserve every ounce of pain that was to be inflicted upon myself due to my careless actions and negligence to my own health.

No, those shiny new red patches on my shoulder weren't from a bite from one of the the lovely insects we have here in Kern County, but I did get bit in another way that will have me pondering about the mistake I made for days to come.

I left my house without sunscreen. I was bitten in a sense by the sun. I know -- to make this even more embarrassing, I'm the son of a health care professional who takes pride in her work by keeping her patients healthy (and sun protected) on a daily basis no matter what the mountain weather brings.

I should have known; should have seen the signs coming. I've only lived in Tehachapi for four months, and I was even lucky enough to experience the last snow in March, but as a city boy I was used to being somewhat of a home-body, doing work as a freelance web developer, and soaking in the air conditioning or anything else to keep me from bearing the brute force attack of the Los Angeles sun.

After arriving in Tehachapi, before I knew it the heat arrived and I knew I was going to be in for a... mountain of pain... unless I do something to keep this from happening again.

I ran down to the local Kmart and was pleasantly surprised to find an entire section laid out for weather preppers and those, such as myself, who have already been bitten by the sun.

They had a generous supply of sunscreens, lotions, and everything else to keep my skin from developing into what could have eventually turned into a worse case scenario -- skin cancer -- if one waits too long without using protection in the sun.

I did some quick research on my phone and soon understood that expert dermatologists recommend wearing a sunscreen with at least an SPF rating of 30, and applying a liberal amount hourly while in the sun to keep from sizzling one's shoulders off in the heat of the summer.

I picked up a ten dollar bottle of sunscreen (a small cost to pay for healthy skin) from a name brand my mom was used to using, and I applied some moments after checking out.

It may have been too late to save me from the pain of sunburn today, but everyday forward I know I'm prepared to take on the sun when I enjoy the outdoors here in Tehachapi.


BILLY MOSES is a freelance writer and International Human Rights student at EdX.

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