By Montana Grant

Posted: July 1, 2023

Montana sunbathing smells like frying bacon. Getting a sunburn is easier at higher altitudes. Big Fry Country means that being outdoors in the sun has its risks.

Sunburn is a form of radiation burn. Intense solar radiation impacts living tissue. Overexposure caused by UV rays will cause skin damage. The worst times to get burned are between 10am and 4pm. You can get sunburned during any season. It’s not about the temperature as much as the solar radiation.

Light skinned and red-haired folks are at risk for serious burns. Even animals can get sunburned beneath their fur and hair. Exposed skin will easily burn along with the eyes.

The ice on Hegben Lake was still 4 feet thick this past April. My friend Meatstick Dave and I went for a fishing trip. Reflected light from the ice burned our exposed faces, hands, and ears. The temperatures were in the low 40’s and cloudy but we still paid a price from the solar radiation. We did catch some nice fist though.

You will know that you are burnt when you have these symptoms.

                Dizzy, skin is warm to touch.





                Red skin

Sun Poisoning is an allergy from the sun. Symptoms are more severe. The victim will also get sunstroke, cramps, and heat stroke from solar exposure.

It is true that some solar light helps give our bodies vitamin D. Excessive solar exposure offsets any benefits. Using tanning beds to get a “base Layer” will not protect you from too much sun. Most sun worshipers and solar bed fanatics end up with premature skin aging, wrinkles, and a risk of cancer.

Back in the day, we all swam, sunbathed, lifeguarded, and begged to get a great tan. We also burned, blistered, and suffered for days after. Our skin peeled, itched, and left large spots which could later become melanomas, lesions, or fine veins covering our skin. We looked good but were frying our skin.

All outdoorsmen should wear eye protection and cover up. Lightweight UV protection clothing is available. GOOD, polarized sunglasses are critical for protecting your eyes and seeing more fish. Large, brimmed hats are helpful. SP 30 suntan lotion should be applied every 2 hours during solar prime time.

There are also meds that promote burning. Advil, Motrin, Cholesterol Statins, Ibuprofen, and antibiotics will make your skin more sensitive to being burned. Some cosmetics will also invite sunburning. Alcohol will also promote severe sunburn.

If the solar lifestyle is your desire, expect wrinkled skin and leathery, blotched, scarred skin when you age.

Don’t be a Fry Baby!

Montana Grant


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