July is Ultraviolet Safety (UV) Awareness Month. Exposure to UV radiation is the leading cause of skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
7 Ways to Protect Yourself from the Sun
- Apply sunscreen regularly– Apply 1 oz of waterproof, broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least 30 SPF (sun protection factor) 15-30 minutes before going outside. Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours (Every hour if you are swimming or sweating). Use a lip balm that contains sunscreen with at least 30 SPF.
- Limit sun exposure– The sun rays are the most intense between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM. Practice the shadow rule: if your shadow is shorter than you, you should find shade. Always keep babies under six months old completely covered and in the shade.
- Pay attention to the UV index– This numbered scale measures how damaging exposure to the sun will be on any particular day. When the index is ten or higher, try to stay indoors.
- Be careful around reflective surfaces– Water, snow, and sand reflect the sun’s damaging rays and increase your risk of sunburn.
- Wear protective clothing/sunglasses– Make sure you have a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and a hat that shades the face, neck, and ears. Dark clothing with tightly woven fabric blocks more sun than white or loosely woven fabrics. For additional protection, look for clothing made with special sun-protective materials. Make sure your sunglasses have 99% to 100% UV absorption.
- Be aware of medication side effects-Some medications may make you more sensitive to the sun. These include specific types of antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, antifungals, blood pressure medications, and some types of chemotherapy.
- Avoid recreational sunbathing– Do not use sun lamps, tanning beds, or tanning salons.
Click here for more information on how to protect yourself from the sun.
For more sun safety videos, click here.