UV Safety Tips for Summer Fun
By Tracie Isaac
The best way to enjoy summer activities is to be prepared for the Ultraviolet (UV) radiation that comes from the sun rays. Caution should be taken for being exposed to the sun rays and especially for those who use man-made sources like tanning beds and sun lamps which also transmit UV rays.
July is national UV Safety Awareness month, recognized during the month that most people will be exposed for long hours basking in the sun or participating in activities outside.
According to the American Cancer Society everyone’s skin and eyes can be affected by the sun and other types of UV rays. All skin types are vulnerable to sunburn. Lighter skin is more likely to have damage to the skin (and get skin cancer), but also darker skinned people, including ethnic people can be affected.
It is reported that people who have high exposure to the sun, both natural and man-made, are at high risk for skin cancer.
The website of the National Academy of Ophthalmology reports that the eyes can be harmed by too much Ultraviolet light from natural or artificial sources causing long term effects of eye diseases and decrease of sight.
“UV radiation, whether from natural sunlight or indoor artificial rays, can damage the eye’s surface tissues as well as the cornea and lens,” says ophthalmologist Michael Kutryb, MD, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
When preparing for summer vacations, outdoor activities and events UV safety should be included in your plans. Consider how to protect your skin and eyes.
Sun safety for the skin is necessary to avoid sunburn, heat stroke and skin cancer. Long term sun exposure to the eyes may result in eye cancer, Cataracts, growths on eyes, and a condition known as snow blindness which is a result from reflections off snow, ice, sand, and water.
Tips for sun protection for skin and eyes:
- Use a good coating of SPF 30 (or higher) broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen.
- Wear clothing that covers as much skin as possible: long sleeves, long dress or skirts, long pants
- Choose sunglasses that provide 100% UV or UV400 protection, or block both UV-A and UV-B rays.
- Wear a broad-brimmed hat along with your sunglasses
- Protect children and senior citizens with hats and sunglasses. Everyone is at risk for sun damage.
- If it is a bit hazy or cloudy the UV light is not blocked. Sun’s rays can pass through haze and clouds.
- Sunlight is strongest midday to early afternoon, at higher altitudes and when reflected off water, ice or snow.
- Never look directly at the sun. Doing so at any time, including during an eclipse, can damage the eye’s retina and cause a serious injury known as solar retinopathy.
- Avoid tanning beds. Tanning beds pose the same risks to your eyes and body as outdoor UV light.
- Seek shade between the hours of 10a.m. and 4p.m to help protect your skin and eyes.