UV Protection This UV Safety Awareness Month: Avoid the Dreaded Sunstroke and Heat Exhaustion

June 30, 2022

Sunglasses are important for UV protection and UV Safety Awareness Month

One of the most common and most underrated sources of danger for our skin lies in a completely invisible hazard: ultraviolet (UV) radiation. In fact, according to the National Weather Service and National Centers for Environmental Information, UV radiation levels have been on the rise, which means that we need to be more careful than ever about protecting both ourselves and those we love from dangerous sun exposure. That's why it's important that we all understand what kinds of damage UV radiation can cause, how we can protect ourselves from over-exposure, and how we can encourage others to do the same this UV Safety Awareness Month. 

AFC Urgent Care West Hartford has you covered (metaphorically speaking) with a guide on UV protection and sun safety.

About UV Rays And Your Health

UV rays are a form of radiation that can be harmful to your health. They’re also a type of electromagnetic radiation, which means they have an energy and wavelength similar to visible light. There are three types of UV rays:

  • UVA (longest and weakest wavelength)
  • UVB (2nd longest)
  • UVC (Shortest and strongest wavelength

Luckily for us, the Earth’s ozone layer helps filter out UVC and most UVB rays. The more common UV ray we get exposed to is UVA radiation. But, what happens when you’re exposed to these rays for prolonged periods of time? Most people know that long term overexposure can potentially lead to skin cancer, sunburn and eye damage. But did you know that UV rays also have other health effects? UV rays may also lead to heat exhaustion, sunstroke,  cataracts and premature aging of the skin. These are all serious problems that affect many people every year, so it is important for us to take precautions when we are outside in the sun for an extended period of time

How can I protect myself against the sun's UV rays?

  • Wear sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30.
  • Wear clothing that covers your skin and includes long sleeves, pants and wide-brimmed hats.
  • Seek shade during midday hours from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., when UV rays are strongest.
  • Avoid the sun during peak times—10 a.m.-4 p.m.—and use physical barriers like shade, umbrellas and sunglasses when outdoors at other times of day as well (even if it’s cloudy). If you do find yourself outside during these hours, try to limit your time in the sun by seeking shade whenever possible or wearing protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, pants and wide-brimmed hats.*

Heat Exhaustion And UV Rays

Heat exhaustion is a condition that develops when your body loses more fluid than you can replace. It happens when you don't drink enough liquids and become overheated in hot weather. When the body doesn’t get enough water and salt, it can’t cool itself off as well as it should.

The symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • thirst
  • heavy sweating (even though it's warm)
  • pale skin color (not just looking pale, but paler than usual)

We highly suggest taking breaks and staying hydrated, especially during heat waves. 

AFC Urgent Care West Hartford Is Here For You This UV Safety Month

AFC Urgent Care West Hartford wishes you all a happy 4th of July and a healthy and UV safe summer. Please stay hydrated and keep cool in the summer heat! If you’re spending time outdoors, don’t forget to protect your skin with sunscreen or by wearing long sleeves and pants! We also recommend drinking plenty of water throughout the day as well as taking breaks indoors every hour or so to avoid heat exhaustion.

AFC in West Hartford is here for you this summer! We are accepting walk-ins and appointments for COVID-19 testing, tick bites and removals, summer camp/sports physicals, travel medicine and vaccines and a whole lot more!

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