July is UV Awareness Month



Kenzie Opel
Spring/Summer Wellness Intern

Summer is the perfect time to talk about UV Safety. With all the time spent outdoors in the summer, how do we ensure we are keeping ourselves safe from UV radiation?​​ 

UV radiation is emitted from the sun as both UV-A and UV-B​​ rays.​​ UV rays only make up a small part of the sun’s rays, but they are the rays that cause the most damage.​​ UV-A rays are compiled of longer wavelengths that can reach to the middle layer of your skin whereas UV-B rays are shorter wavelengths that only reach the outer layer of your skin.​​ It is important to learn the risks associated with these rays to be able to take the proper precautions to protect​​ one self.​​ 

The harmful risks?

  • Cause vision problems, damages your eyes

  • Suppresses the immune system​​ 

  • Causes premature aging of the skin

  • Skin cancer! (Most common type of cancer)​​ 

Factors that affect the strength?​​ 

The American Heart Association states that the strength of UV rays are based on many factors. The time of day changes how strong the rays are. They are most damaging between 10am to 4pm. The season of the year can also affect this. The spring to summer months are when the rays are the strongest. ​​ July is represented as UV safety​​ month because it is right at the time when the​​ sun is​​ at its​​ all-time​​ high. The further you are from the equator means the less​​ exposure​​ there is. A higher altitude means​​ the more UV rays that can touch down to the ground. Cloud cover varies the exposure because sometimes it blocks the exposure and sometimes it causes the rays to be reflected. It is a good rule of thumb to take backup precautions on cloudy days.​​ It is important to keep these ideas in mind when deciding what precautions to take.

Precautions?

  • Cover up:​​ Be sure to cover your face with a hat or sunglasses. You can even wear long sleeve shirts, pants, etc. to hide your skin from the sun.​​ 

  • Stay in the shade:​​ It is recommended to spend more time in the shade between 10am and 4pm because this is when the sun is at its strongest. Even on cloudy days, the sun can still be harmful to your skin so it is important to take other precautions as well.​​ 

  • Choose the right sunscreen:​​ SPF stands for sun protection factor. This is required by the FDA to be shown on the label. It is recommended to use a sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher to protect against both UV-A and UV-B rays. ​​ 

  • Use the right amount of sunscreen:​​ Many people don’t use the proper amount of sunscreen when applying throughout the day. It is recommended to apply one oz of sunscreen every two hours. They even suggest more frequently if you are sweating or spending time in the water.​​ 

Remember to be safe as you take in the rays and be sure to protect your skin and eyes from the damage.​​ You can learn more about how to keep yourself safe from UV radiation in the summer months at​​ https://www.cancer.org/healthy/be-safe-in-sun.html. The American Cancer Association offers plenty of tips and steps to take to protect yourself as well as information on the connection to health risks.​​ 

 

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