As we spend more time soaking up the sun and warm weather during the summer, it’s important to take steps to protect our skin from the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) rays.
This month (July) is UV Safety Awareness Month. Which gives us a great opportunity to discuss the risks associated with unprotected sun exposure and provide some sun safety tips.
How to stay safe in the sun
Unprotected sun exposure can lead to premature skin aging, vision issues and skin cancer. And damage from UV-A and UV-B rays can begin within as little as 15 minutes of exposure.
Follow these simple steps to limit your exposure and protect your skin.
- Put on sunscreen. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF factor of 15 or higher at least 15 minutes before going outside. Even if it’s cloudy or a cool day. Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours. And after swimming or sweating.
- Find shade. Use the shade (e.g. umbrella or tree) to take periodic breaks from the sun.
- Wear protective clothing. You can now find SPF clothing. Or wear long sleeves and pants when practical. Protect your head, face and neck by wearing a wide brim hat.
- Protect your eyes with sunglasses. Wrap-around sunglasses provide the best protection by blocking UV rays from all sides.
- Discourage indoor and outdoor tanning. Speak with your preteens and teens about the risks of UV exposure and long-term consequences.
Check out the HSI Emergency Care blog for more information about UV radiation and how to treat sunburns.