Waking up to the sun shining brings happiness to me and an eagerness to soak up as much of the sun’s rays as possible. Now that Spring has arrived, I’m sure bright sunshiny days are in my future. When the weather is nice it provides the opportunity to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. Although I spend a great deal of time outside, I am aware of the fact that I need to protect myself against too much sun exposure.
Did you know that as little as 15 minutes of unprotected ultraviolet UV exposure can be harmful to your body? Eye damage, premature wrinkles, and sun burns are results of overexposure to the sun. If you experience just one bad sunburn as a child it doubles your risk of skin cancer later in life. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year nearly 5 million people in the United States are treated for skin cancer. The American Cancer Society identifies Ultraviolet rays, from the sun and/or tanning beds, as the #1 cause of skin cancer.
So, what steps can be taken to protect against ultraviolet (UV) radiation? The CDC recommends the following steps:
- Stay in the Shade – especially between the hours of 10 a.m.-4 p.m. when the suns rays are strongest
- Wear protective clothing – dark, tightly woven fabrics provide the most protection or UV protective fabric with a UPF of 50 or higher
- Wear a hat – brim needs to be at least 3-4 inches all the way around
- Wear sunglasses – 99-100% UVA and UVB protection, labels stating “UV absorption up to 400 nm” or “Meets ANSI UV Requirements” provide the best protection
- Use broad-spectrum sunscreen – SPF of 30 or higher is recommended, reapplication is necessary at least every 2 hours
- Avoid all indoor tanning beds – both UVA and UVB rays can cause long-term skin damage and increase risk of melanoma
By following these steps and limiting your UV exposure you will reduce your risk of sun damage to your body. Go ahead and enjoy the beautiful sunshiny days just remember to practice sun-safety every day!