Summer has arrived and many people are spending time in the sun, enjoying the beautiful weather. As we all take in a bit more sun over the next few months, it is important to remember to protect ourselves from the sun’s damaging rays.
July is Ultraviolet (UV) Safety Awareness Month, a time dedicated to providing education about the risks involved with too much sun exposure. Be mindful of the time you spend outdoors this summer and protect yourself by following these tips:
- Cover Up
Wear a wide-brimmed hat to help shield your face, ears and back of your neck. Try to avoid straw hats with holes that will allow sunlight through. Ideal clothing may include a lightweight long sleeve shirt and pants with tightly woven fabric.
- Seek Shade
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when UV radiation is the most intense, try to stay in the shade even on overcast and cloudy days. The sun can still damage skin on those non-sunny days. Use caution if you are near surfaces such as water, snow and sand which can reflect the damaging rays of the sun.
- Apply Sunscreen
You’ll want to use broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 that protects against both Ultraviolet A (UV-A) and Ultraviolet B (UV-B) rays. Sunscreen wears off and should be reapplied if you’re in the sun for more than two hours or after swimming, sweating and toweling off. Make sure you check the expiration date of your sunscreen. Most sunscreens have a shelf life of about thee years and can be shortened if they are exposed to high temperatures.
- Protect Your Eyes
Your eyes are also vulnerable to UV rays. Studies have shown that long term exposure to bright sunlight without proper protection may increase the risk of cataracts and growths on the eye, including cancer. UV rays reflected off sand and water can cause the eyes to sunburn, potentially resulting in redness, blurry vision, sensitivity to bright light and temporary vision loss. Wear broad brimmed hats and 100% UV blocking sunglasses are recommended.
About the Author
Sherry Stick is the fitness and aquatics coordinator at Carroll Lutheran Village and has been working for CLV for nearly 20 years.