July is known as #UVSafetyAwarenessMonth, but what is UV really? Ultraviolet (UV) rays are an invisible kind of radiation that comes from the sun, tanning beds and sunlamps and can penetrate the skin and damage the DNA of skin cells.
While July makes sense as a UV Awareness month, most of our sun protection tips are actually just as applicable during any time of year, and in most types of weather. UV rays can reach you on cloudy and cool day, and they reflect off of surfaces like water, cement, sand, and snow - so it’s always best practice to be sun aware, and protect the skin no matter what the weather!
What are the risks of UV exposure?
There are several risks associated with exposure to UV radiation, two common ones being sunburns after short-term exposure and skin cancer after cumulative long-term exposure.. It’s also important to speak to your doctor about medications you may be taking which can result in sensitivity to the sun.
Symptoms of sunburn usually start about four hours after sun exposure, worsen over 24–36 hours and resolve in three to five days. These symptoms include red, tender and swollen skin, blistering, headache, fever, nausea and fatigue. In addition to the skin, eyes can become sunburned. Sunburned eyes become red, dry and painful. Chronic eye exposure can even cause permanent damage, including blindness.
How do I reduce my UV exposure? There are many recommended ways to reduce your UV Exposure
-Avoiding prolonged exposure to the sun especially during 10 am-4 pm
-Wearing a broad spectrum sunscreen with a minimum rating of SPF-30
-Applying sunscreen correctly and reapplying it often (every 2 hours)
-Throwing away sunscreen once opened for prolonged period/past its sell by date once opened
-Wearing a style of clothing that protects you from the sun
-Wearing wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses with UV protection and side panels.
-Taking breaks in shaded areas and drinking plenty of water.
-Strictly avoiding sunbeds and tanning beds.
It’s still possible to have fun in the sun and be outdoors. Just be sure to practice appropriate sun protection for your skin and eyes — not just during UV Safety Awareness Month but all year long.