Wednesday, February 11, 2009
A Good Sun Hat...
Have you ever walked into a hat shop that carries all kinds of hats? It is so much fun to walk around and try on the different hats and then look in a mirror and laugh! Or to imagine what it might be like to be the kind of person who would wear such a hat. Some hats are made mostly for style (perhaps like Aretha's)...others have more of a utilitarian use (like a welder's hat keeps sparks out of his ear)...they come in all different sizes...shapes...and colors...and can be found in every culture I know of...and are worn for multitude of purposes.
Worldwide...perhaps one of the most popular hats is the baseball cap. The irony with a baseball cap...is that on a sunny day...a baseball cap is one of the worst hats you could wear to a baseball game!
"Baseball caps provide inadequate protection from solar UV radiation which is known to cause skin cancer. A typical baseball cap leaves the sides of the face, ears and neck all exposed to the full sun light. This dramatically increases the wearer's risk of developing melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma. Skin cancer prevention groups do not recommend their use under any circumstances. For serious sun protection, a hat with a broad brim or one with a flap covering the neck and sides of face (often called a legionnaire's hat) should be worn."
Reading that reminded me of a statement by Brigham young...
"My warfare is, an has been for years, to get the people to understand that if they do not care for themselves they will not be taken care of; that if we do not lay the foundation to feed and clothe and shelter ourselves we shall perish with hunger and with cold; we might also suffer in the summer season from the direct rays of the sun upon our naked and unprotected bodies."(Discourses of Brigham Young, p 16-17)
I recently read a non-fiction book called "The Raft". It is the story of 3 Navy airmen stranded on a raft for 34 days without food, water, or shelter...and how they survived. The lines from the book that describe the agony of those men....lying directly in the sun...with no cover...literally baking in the sun...are indelibly etched on my brain. Those men I'm sure would have appreciated a good hat! Even without such an extreme experience...anyone who has ever had a sunburn can tell you how the "direct rays of the sun" really can make you "suffer". Many who have had such experiences vow to never let it happen again...but in moments of weakness say "Ah...I'll be all right...it's not that sunny"...and then they suffer through a sunburn again. Such mistakes may be OK when you can get to shelter to recover from the sunburn...but what if you had to continue to spend time in the sun?
Many of our pioneer fathers crossing the plains spent long...long days out in the sun. They apparently understood the value of a good hat...with their large brimmed men's hats...and the covering bonnets for the women. We would do well to emulate them in that regard....not necessarily wearing bonnets and large felt hats...but putting into our emergency supplies a good brimmed hat. I like the ones that can be crushed...by throwing them in a backpack...and will still hold their shape. Here is one called an adventure hat...which won't win you a prize for looking really cool...but offers great coverage...is well made to last...is easily washed...and breathes. It is a pretty expensive hat...but like I said...it is really well made and should last for a really long time.
It would also be wise to have other hats for keeping your head warm when it is cold. Presently I use just good ole' fashioned beanies...like you could pick up at a dollar store or at Walmart for a buck or two. A small price to pay to have your head warm on a cool day or night!
So wear that baseball cap to support your favorite team...and to look cool as you go around town...but put a good brimmed hat in your supplies that will actually offer you protection!