UV Safety Awareness Month
Quality of care for Veteran’s includes raising awareness around important health topics. By highlighting some of the national health awareness campaigns each month, Veterans can get ideas, information, and resources on a variety of health matters.
July is UV Safety Awareness Month and we’re here to inform you about the risks associated with unprotected sun exposure and things you can do to minimize your risk.
As many of us get ready to enjoy those warm rays this summer, we must remember to protect our skin and eyes from the damaging effects of the sun.
According to the CDC skin cancer is the leading type of cancer in the U.S., so it’s important to educate ourselves on the risks associated with it.
The sun emits radiation known as UV-A and UV-B rays. Both types can damage your eyes and skin. UV-B rays have short wavelengths that reach the outer layer of your skin. UV-A rays have longer wavelengths that can penetrate the middle layer of your skin.
Unprotected sun exposure can:
- Cause vision problems and can damage your eyes
- Suppress your immune system
- Prematurely age your skin
- Cause skin cancer
The good news is there are things you can do to minimize the risk.
Cover Up: Wearing a Hat (preferably wide brimmed) or other shade-protective clothing can partly shield your skin from the harmful effects of UV ray exposure. Proper clothing may include long-sleeved shirts, pants, hats, and sunglasses - for eye protection.
Stay in the Shade: The sun's glare is strongest at midday. Staying in the shade between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. will further protect your skin. The sun can still damage your skin on cloudy days or in the winter. That’s why it’s important to stay protected throughout the year.
Choose the Right Sunscreen: This is extremely important. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) new regulations for sunscreen labeling recommend that your sunscreen have a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, and should protect against both Ultraviolet A (UV-A) and Ultraviolet B (UV-B) rays.
Use the Right Amount of Sunscreen: According to the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, most people apply only 25-50 percent of the recommended amount of sunscreen. When out in the sun, it's important that you apply at least one ounce (a palmful) of sunscreen every two hours. You should apply it more often if you are sweating or swimming, even if the sunscreen is waterproof.
Examine your skin: Perform a head-to-toe exam once a month. Use a bright light, full length mirror, a hand mirror, and chairs/stools. If you notice any worrisome spots, call your doctor.
See your physician: Get a professional skin exam at least once a year.
By taking the proper precautions and following these guidelines you and your loved ones can enjoy the sun safely. If you are having any problems after being in the sun, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider.
Resources – (click links below to open in new tab)