• Kelley Carroll

July is UV Safety Awareness Month

How could we possibly not enjoy the outdoors on the Cape in the Summer? We can enjoy all of our favorite activities as long as we take some precautions. It is important to understand what UV rays are, how they affect us, and what we can do to protect ourselves.

What are UV Rays?

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a form of non-ionizing and electromagnetic radiation that is emitted by the sun and artificial sources, such as tanning beds. There are two types of UV rays:

  • UVA – has a longer wavelength, and can age the skin

  • UVB – has a shorter wavelength and can burn the skin

How do UV Rays Affect Us:

Some UV radiation is essential to the body as it stimulates the production of vitamin D. Vitamin D has an important function in increasing calcium and phosphorus absorption from food and plays a crucial role in skeletal development, immune function, and blood cell formation.

However, too much UV Radiation can cause Skin cancer (melanoma and nonmelanoma, premature aging and other skin damage, cataracts and other eye damage, and immune system suppression.

What Can I Do to Protect Myself and My Family?

  • Avoid going outside during the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

  • Wear UV-blocking sunglasses

  • Choose sunglasses with maximum coverage, ideally the kind that wraps around your temples

  • Wear a hat with a brim

  • Wear sunglasses even on a cloudy day; invisible UV rays permeate thin clouds and haze

  • Wear sunglasses all year long

  • Never look directly at the sun

  • Wear Long-sleeved shirts, long pants, or long skirts to cover as much skin as possible

  • Wear dark colors which generally provide more protection.

  • Any exposed skin should be covered with full spectrum sunscreen.

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