A Word From Our Experts
Summer is in full force, and as much as we all enjoy the sun’s rays, it is very important to remember to protect yourself from potential risks. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has named July as Ultraviolet (UV) Safety Month, in an effort to educate the public on how important it is to protect their skin from the harmful effects of UV rays. Here is Dr. Lanre Akinkunmi of Union Primary Care, with more information and tips concerning UV safety.
UV Safety Month
Most people do not realize that UV light is a form of radiation. By definition, radiation is the emission of energy from any source. The main source of UV radiation is the sun, although it can come from man-made sources such as tanning beds and welding torches.
It’s not possible (or healthy) to avoid sunlight completely, but there are ways to help ensure you’re not getting too much sun.
- Use sunscreen to help protect skin that isn’t covered with clothing: Sunburn increases the risk of skin cancer, the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States. Excessive exposure to sunlight also causes age spots and wrinkles. So, use plenty of sunscreen (30 SPF or higher) when you’re outside. If you don’t have sunscreen handy, cover exposed skin by wearing a long-sleeve shirt and a hat. And remember that sunburn can occur on cloudy days.
- Put on sunglasses: Overexposure to sunlight can also damage the eyes. Wear sunglasses that offer 99-100 percent UV (ultraviolet) protection. You’ll squint less and enjoy the scenery more without the glare.
- Drink up: Not drinking enough water during the hot summer months is one of the main causes of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The latter is a serious heat-related illness that can cause brain damage, even death. Whenever it’s hot outside, limit your physical activities, wear light clothing and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
- Find some shade: If you do HAVE to be outside, then try to stay in the shade. Simply staying in the shade, especially during midday hours, is one of the best ways to limit your UV exposure from sunlight. Protect your skin with clothing and wear a hat to protect your head, face, and neck.