Sun Safety Tips for UV Safety Month
July has been designated as Ultraviolet (UV) Safety Month, and while most people (especially in the Valley of the Sun) are already well aware of the dangers of overexposure to the sun, one can never be too careful!
Fellowship Square offers seniors tips to help them stay safe from the sun as the summer heat intensifies.
The US. Department of Health and Human Services named July as UV Safety Month with a goal to increase awareness of the importance of protecting one’s skin from the harmful effects of UV rays. While the sun’s rays put out radiation in the form of several types of UV light wavelengths including UVA, UVB and UVC. While the ozone layer protects the Earth from UVC light, both UVA and UVB light can pass through. It’s the UVA that can penetrate deep into the skin, causing visible effects such as sunburn, wrinkles, skin leathering and more. And exposure to both UVA and UVB can cause skin cancer.
It’s important for people to take extra caution to protect their skin when the sun’s rays are the strongest because that’s when UV radiation is at its highest. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CVC), “the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes.” However, there are simple ways to reduce your exposure, including the following:
Seniors can reduce risk of skin damage and skin cancer by seeking shade — under a tree, umbrella or other structure that can provide relief from the sun’s direct rays.
Hitting a shady spot is great, but the CDC actually says the “best bet to protect your skin is to use sunscreen or wear protective clothing when you’re outside — even when you’re in the shade.” Long-sleeve shirts, long pants and skirts and dark colors are all recommended. Dark colors actually provide more protection than lighter ones, and while long sleeves, pants and long skirts sound more like fall weather wear, many athletic and dedicated sun clothing is actually light and cooling. Some clothing even provides consumers with information on its ultraviolet protection factor. In addition to clothing, covering up with a hat and sunglasses is also a good way to protect the face.
Slather it On
Of course sunscreen is another important way to protect one’s self from sun damage. A broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15 should be applied before going outside “even on slightly cloudy or cool days,” according to the CDC. All skin that is exposed should receive a generous layer, and it’s important to reapply often if out at the pool, lake or beach.
July is definitely a good time for seniors to reevaluate the steps they are taking to protect themselves from sun damage and skin cancer. With these few easy steps, seniors can enjoy the summer without getting burned.