Being Sun Smart for UV Safety
Summer has arrived and while the sun is brightly shinning, itís a golden time to highlight Ultraviolet (UV) Safety Awareness. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has declared July UV safety month. The goal is to spread the word about how important it is to protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sunís UV rays. Despite ongoing awareness efforts around sun safety, a million cases of skin cancer are still diagnosed every year. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S. One in five Americans will get skin cancer during their lifetime, and it is the second-most diagnosed form of cancer in 15-29 year olds. We all love to take in those warm summer rays, but everyone must remember to protect their skin and eyes from the damaging effects of the sun.
The sun emits radiation known as UV-A and UV-B rays. Both types can damage your eyes and skin:
∑ UV-B rays have short wavelengths that reach the outer layer of your skin
∑ UV-A rays have longer wavelengths that can penetrate the middle layer of your skin
Here are the harmful things unprotected sun exposure can do:
∑ Cause vision problems and damage to your eyes
∑ Cause suppression of the immune system
∑ Cause premature aging of the skin (age spots, wrinkles and leathery skin)
∑ Cause skin cancer
Fortunately, there are things you can do to minimize the risk that comes with sun exposure.
1. Cover Up: Wearing a Hat (preferably wide brimmed) or other shade-protective clothing can partly shield your skin from the harmful effects of UV ray exposure. Proper clothing may include long-sleeved shirts, pants, hats, and Sunglasses for eye protection. Effective sunglasses should block glare and 99-100% of UV rays and have a wraparound shape to protect the eyes from all angles. Also include a facial moisturizer with sunscreen.
2. Stay in the Shade: The sunís glare is most intense at midday. Staying in the shade between the hours of 10 .am. and 4 p.m. will further protect your skin. The sun can still damage your skin on cloudy days or in the winter. Therefore, it is important to stay protected throughout the year.
3. Choose the Right Sunscreen: This is extremely important. Sunscreen should protect against both Ultraviolet A (UV-A) and Ultraviolent B (UV-B) rays. The ďbroad spectrumĒ sunscreen protects against both types. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that everyone apply a sunscreen with an SPF30 every day, and an SPF50 before participating in outdoor activities. The number (SPF30) means that it would take 30 times longer to burn than not wearing any sunscreen. Which means if it would take a minute to burn without sunscreen, it would take 30 minutes to burn after applying the recommended amount of SPF30. This is usually adequate for low levels of sun exposure.
4. Use the Right Amount of Sunscreen: According to the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, most people apply only 25-50 percent of the recommended amount of sunscreen. When out in the sun, it is important to apply at least one ounce (a palmful) of sunscreen every two hours. You should apply it more often if you are sweating or swimming, even if the sunscreen is waterproof.
5. Donít forget your ears, hands, feet and neck when applying sunscreen.
6. Use sunscreen when driving on long road trips-windows do not protect you from the sun! Pack an umbrella AND sunscreen: 80% of UV rays pass through clouds, so wear sunscreen regardless of the weather.
7. Protect your lips! Your lips have less melatonin than the rest of your body.
Sunburned, Now what?
∑ Apply a cold compress to the affected area(s)
∑ Take aspirin or acetaminophen (Tylenol) immediately after to relieve the sunburn discomfort and inflammation
∑ Apply a cooling gel or ointment containing aloe vera to the sunburned area(s)
∑ Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol, which will dehydrate the skin
∑ Avoid further sun exposure until the discomfort lessons
Not all sunburn are immediately visible. They can appear from one to six hours after sun exposure and reach its peak in 24 hours.
Remember that the sun never takes a vacation, so apply sunscreen in all four seasons of the year.
Submitted by: The HealthCare Ministry