Summer is in full swing here on the west coast and we are having extremely sunny weather. Are you protecting yourself from UV risks? The U/S. Department of Health and Human Services has named July as Ultraviolet Safety month! So what exactly does that mean?
Ultraviolet Safety & Radiation
UV Radiation is a form of radiation. There are many different types of radiation, from the sun or man made, but here, UV radiation is a form of electromagnetic radiation from the sun. The sun emits radiation in 3 forms UVA, UVB and UVC. The sun’s atmosphere blocks UVC light but UVA and UVB pass through the earth’s atmosphere. UVA light penetrates deeply into skin, causing wrinkling and leathering. UVB causes sunburns. Exposure to both can cause skin cancer. Because of this its very important to protect the skin, including your eyes when you are outside.
UV radiation levels are highest when the sun’s ray are the strongest, at mid day, during summer months and when reflected off surfaces such as snow, sand and water and in higher altitudes..
Ultraviolet Safety & Protection
Take these measures to minimize UV risks:
- Wear protective clothing, wide brimmed hats and sunglasses when outside even if its cloudy.
- Stay inside or in the shade when the sun is as its strongest (typically 10am to 4pm)
- Be sure to wear sunscreen and reapply as recommended along with sunglasses rated for both UVA and UVB rays.
- There are no safe tans! The CDC stresses that indoor tanning increases the risks and causes premature aging and supresses the immune system.
When planning outdoor activities, check out the Environmental Protection Agency’s UV index. The index measures the daily intensity of UV rays from the sun on a scale of 1–11. A low UV index requires minimal protection, whereas a high UV index requires maximum protection. This will help you plan how to protect yourself with clothing, sunglasses and sunscreen!
If individuals associate sunlight as a form of radiation, they may be inclined to make a bigger effort to avoid exposure and reduce the risk for developing malignancy.
For more helpful eye care and vision care tips, please visit our main blog page.