This month we are celebrating UV Safety! The purpose of UV Safety Month is to raise awareness about UV rays and to be informed about the best practices for protecting yourself and others. Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation is a type of energy produced by the sun as well as some artificial sources. UV rays damage the DNA of skin cells, making exposure to them a major risk for skin cancer. Because protection from these harmful rays is so important, we’ve put together information about UV rays and the best ways to protect against them. If you’re living in or moving to Southern California, UV protection is especially important since it’s sunny year-round!
Some Things to Keep in Mind:
- UV Index
UV Index is used to advise people of the strength of the sun’s UV rays on any given day in any given region. The UV index scale reads from 1 to 11+, with 1 being the lowest. The different ranges on the scale indicate the level of risk for unprotected sun exposure. The projected UV index in your area is typically included in daily television, online, and smartphone weather forecasts.
- Reflection Off Surfaces
Damage from UV rays is not just caused by direct sun exposure. UV rays can bounce off of surfaces like water, sand, snow, pavement, and grass. Make sure to watch out for these surfaces to avoid increased exposure!
- Peak Seasons
UV rays are most powerful during the Spring and Summer seasons. During this time of the year, it is critical to be aware of the strength of the rays and protect yourself and others when enjoying time outdoors.
- Peak Hours
UV rays are the strongest between 10am and 4pm. During these peak hours, it is crucial to protect yourself in the most effective ways possible. The best ways to protect against these rays will be discussed next!
The Best Ways to Protect:
Applying sunscreen is an effective way to stay protected in the sun when used properly. However, keep in mind that sunscreen does not protect you completely. Sunscreens with SPF values of 30+ or higher are recommended. Be sure to follow the directions of the sunscreen you are using and reapply often.
Protection of the eyes is extremely important, and a part of the body people most often forget. In order to avoid the risk of cancer, cataracts, and growths on the eye, it is recommended 100% UV-blocking sunglasses are worn to shield the eyes from the sun’s harmful rays.
- Cover up
In addition to sunscreen and sunglasses, wearing protective clothing when outside is another great way to protect against the sun’s harmful rays. Appropriate protective clothing may include: a brim hat, long sleeves, and long pants. Opting for darker colored and more tightly-woven clothing is most effective.
- Limit Sun Exposure
Lastly, limiting sun exposure is key to avoiding the lasting damages of harmful rays. Be sure to check your local weather forecast for the daily UV index in your area. If possible, limit time spent out in the sun when the index is extremely high, during peak seasons and times of day.
Here at KPG Healthcare, we’re all about having fun in the sun! However, we believe it is important to raise consciousness about UV rays, their harm, and how to protect against them. We hope the above information is helpful throughout these summer months. Happy UV Safety Month!