UV Safety Awareness Month is a national campaign in July to remind people to protect their skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays. It's important to know what UV rays are and how they can affect your skin. As it turns out, UV rays are responsible for most skin cancers including melanoma and basal cell carcinoma and other harmful effects like sunburns and eye damage. In fact, ultraviolet radiation (UV) is the most preventable risk factor for all types of skin cancer. And did we mention it can cause premature aging of the skin, heat exhaustion and sunstroke? The sun is a powerful ball of fire!
The point is, overexposure to these harmful rays in the long run can affect our overall health. With that being said, AFC Urgent Care Danbury wants to help you stay informed with ways you can protect yourself from UV rays so that you can enjoy a healthy and sun safe summer!
What Are UV Rays And Why Are They Harmful To Our Health?
UV radiation is a form of electromagnetic radiation that everyone is exposed to from the sun. However, UV radiation can also come in other forms like UV sunlamps and tanning beds.
There are three types of UV rays (UVA, UVB, and UVC) to be aware about. People are mostly exposed to UVA and UVB rays because of their longer wavelengths. UVA rays are the weakest and most common rays that we are exposed to while UVB rays are a little stronger and can cause sunburns and skin cancer. Thankfully, our Earth’s ozone layer filters out UVC rays because of their shorter wavelengths. However, some people can become exposed to UVC rays from tanning beds, sunlamps and other artificial sources that can not only affect our skin and eyes, but can also cause premature aging of the skin and even heat exhaustion!
Since most people are usually exposed to UV rays from the sun, it is important to take the extra precautions to protect yourself from the harmful effects of its rays. In fact, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. However, you don’t have to spend your days hiding under umbrellas or wearing long sleeves if you learn more about the harmful impact of these rays and additional ways to protect yourself from them.
Protecting Yourself From Sunburns And UV Rays
While there are many things we need to do every day just like brushing our teeth or wearing sunscreen (we'll get into those later), there are also some vague lifestyle changes you should consider making as well: avoiding tanning beds; staying out of direct sunlight between 10am and 4pm; not falling asleep on the beach—those kinds of things!
Here are a few tips when choosing a sunscreen and about protecting yourself from UV rays:
- Broad spectrum means that a sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Look for this term on labels when buying sunscreen. You should also look for a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. The higher the better!
- UVB rays are the ones that cause sunburn and are blocked by clothing and shade—so even if you think your tan may be healthy (it's not), remember that UVB rays can penetrate through glass windows as well as clouds.
- UVA rays can also penetrate through glass windows as well as clouds—so even if it's cloudy outside or you're indoors at work or school all day long, make sure to apply broad-spectrum sunscreen every day!
Other Ways To Protect Against Harmful UV Rays, Heat Exhaustion or Sunstroke
Sunscreen is one of the best ways to protect against the harmful effects of UV radiation from the sun and tanning beds. But, it’s not your only line of defense! Other forms of skin protection include:
- Umbrellas: Even if you're out in direct sunlight, an umbrella can still do its job while keeping you cool at the same time.
- Shade: When you're outside, try to stay in shaded areas or under an umbrella or tree canopy.
- Clothing: Clothes made with lightweight fabrics and tightly woven fabrics that block ultraviolet light help protect your skin from exposure.
Please Stay Safe In The Sun And Avoid UV Rays As Much As Possible This Summer!
AFC Urgent Care Danbury hopes you stay safe in the sun and UV protected as much as possible this summer. We also wish you a happy, safe and injury free 4th of July! If you need us for any of your urgent care needs this summer, we are now accepting walk-ins and appointments for tick bites and removals, travel vaccines and medicine, COVID-19 testing and a whole lot more!
Remember, sun safety is not just about skin cancer. It’s about how it can also lead to a host of other health problems that can be avoided by taking proper precautions. So go out there and enjoy the sunshine, and remember that the sun has a way of burning more than just your skin!