The kids have been out of school for awhile now, trips to the beach and pool have become much more commonplace, and barbecues are being held in backyards across the country. Summer is a time of year that brings people together and outside to enjoy the weather and fun activities that go along with it. However, with all that fun in the sun, it’s important to remember to keep yourself and your loved ones safe from harmful UV rays. To help you remember, July is UV Safety Month.
Sunburns happen while we’re busy doing other things. Because they are so common during the summer months, many of us pay them little to no mind. Other than the slight embarrassment when your reflection in the mirror looks less like you and more like the lobster you ate for dinner, you likely don’t think much about a little sunburn. However, those rays can have damaging effects on both skin and eyes. UV rays are actually radiation, and some of them have longer wavelengths that can actually get through to the middle layer of your skin.
Some of the destructive things caused by overexposure to these harmful UV rays are:
- Vision problems caused by too much radiation to the eyes
- Early aging of the skin
- Increased risk of skin cancer
- Suppressed immune system response
Does that list make you want to be a little more cautious? Good! However, no need to stay inside on beautiful summer days. Instead, make sure that you and your loved ones enjoy the outdoors a little smarter and more prepared this summer. There are plenty of things that you can do to help protect against harmful UV radiation:
- Hang in the shade. During the hours with the highest UV ratings, usually between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., choose spots that are shaded. That is fairly fool-proof way to protect yourself from harmful effects. Even cloudy or cool days have harmful UV rays during the midday.
- Cover up. Wear lightweight long-sleeved shirts or pants, especially if you aren’t able to seek out shade for long hours of the day. A wide-brimmed hat is also an excellent idea to help keep the sun from damaging your face, neck, and eyes.
- Use sunscreen. This one may go without saying, but it’s so important to apply sunscreen early and reapply often – every two hours at least. Make sure that your sunscreen of choice is at least SPF 15. If you are sweating or swimming, reapply even more often!
- Rock the shades. When selecting sunglasses, make sure that they block out 99% or 100% of harmful UV rays. Also, ensure that stray rays can’t make it in the sides of your glasses. This way you can look good while keeping your eyes healthy!
This July, make sure to follow these easy steps to keep you and your family happy and healthy as you enjoy the outdoors and soaking up the sun! Think you’re an expert on UV safety? Take the American Cancer Society’s Sun Safety IQ test!
Interested in learning more about Ross and how to pursue a healthcare career? Visit our Ross healthcare programs page!