UV Safety Month
Summer is officially in full swing! This time of year is meant for getting outside and enjoying the sunshine. Popular activities during this time of year include going to the beach, swimming, paddle boarding, canoeing, camping, hiking and biking. While these are all excellent for both your mental and physical health, summer outdoor activities do require you to take some safety precautions.
Last week, we talked about the importance of sunscreen and how to choose the best sunscreen for your family. Since we are coming up on Ultraviolet Safety Month, we wanted to build on that topic today and discuss how you can protect you and your family from harmful UV rays.
What Exactly is UV Light?
Many people don’t realize that ultraviolet light is actually a form of radiation. As explained by the Oncology Nursing Society, the main source of UV radiation is the sun, although it can come from man-made sources such as tanning beds. UV radiation is classified into three types by wavelength: UVA, UVB, and UVC. The ozone layer is a protective layer in Earth’s stratosphere that blocks all UVC light, but UVB and UVA light pass through it. UVA penetrates deeply into the skin and is the cause of wrinkling and leathering of the skin. UVB is the type of radiation that causes sunburns. Frequent, long-term exposure to both UVA and UVB can lead to skin cancer. In fact, they are both the root cause of a majority of skin cancer cases in the United States.
How to Protect Yourself and Your Family
- Wear Sunscreen: We said it once and we will say it again! Always wear sunscreen when you are outdoors during the day. Check out our last blog post, “Skin Safety Tips for Summer 2022,” to learn how to pick the best sunscreen.
- Cover Up: Hats, shirts, shorts, and pants protect the skin from harmful UV rays. If you will be out in the sun for an extended amount of time, such as hiking, consider wearing lightweight, moisture wicking long sleeves and hiking pants for the most coverage.
- Wear Sunglasses: Sunglasses are so much more than an accessory. Choose a high-quality pair with UV protection and wear them anytime you are out in the sun.
- Plan Ahead: 10am-2pm is when UV light is the strongest, so whenever possible, plan your activities for the morning or evening to avoid being exposed during this time.
- Spend time in the shade: Find naturally shady areas to relax in and if you can’t find any, use an umbrella or a tent to create your own.
- Reapply Often: If you will be out in the sun, make sure to reapply sunscreen often!
- Think Smart: Avoid tanning beds, sun lamps, tanning pills, or any tan enhancing products as they are known to increase your risk of skin damage.