July is National UV Safety Awareness Month. If you’re like many families, you’re spending a lot more time outside during the summer months. While we all enjoy time outside, it’s crucial to remember to protect sun and eyes from the damaging effects of the sun.
The sun emits radiation known UV-A and UV-B rays, both of which can cause damage.
• UV-B rays have short wavelengths that reach the outer layer of your skin
• UV-A rays have longer wavelengths that can penetrate the middle layer of your skin
Prolonged and unprotected sun exposure can cause vision problems, suppress your immune system, cause premature aging of the skin, and can even cause skin cancer. By taking the proper precautions, you can assure that your family enjoy their time outdoors safely.
What can you do to minimize sun exposure?
We naturally want to shed layers on hot days, but shade-protective clothing can help shield your skin from harmful UV rays. Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face and neck, and never leave the house without sunglasses to protect your eyes. Consider a rash guard swimsuit to protect your skin on longer outings.
Find A Shady Spot.
The sun’s rays are more intense between 10:00am and 4:00pm. Finding a shady spot during the midday hours is beneficial, even during winter or on a cloudy day.
Slather on the Sunscreen.
It’s important to find the right Sun Protection Factor (SPF), but also to put on the right amount. The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention says that most people apply about 25-50% of the recommended amount of sunscreen. When you’re enjoying a day in the sun, apply an ounce (about a palmful) of sunscreen every two hours, and more frequently if you’re sweating or swimming. Don’t be fooled by a waterproof label. Your sunscreen should be SPF 15 or above, especially if you’re fairer skinned, and check the label to see that it protects against UV-A and UV-B rays.
If you are having any problems after being in the sun, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider.
Enjoy the outdoors this summer and remember to protect your eyes and the skin you’re in!