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 raise awareness on the dangers too much unprotected sun exposure can cause. While we all think of the beach and outdoor fun in the summer months, we should take time to educate ourselves on UV safety.
The sun emits two types of Ultraviolet (UV) radiation and 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.
Too much unprotected exposure to the sun can lead to vision problems and can damage your eyes. It can also suppress your body’s immune system, prematurely age your skin and can even cause skin cancer. That’s why it’s very important to stay protected when spending time out in the sun.
The good news is there are things you can do to minimize the risk that comes with sun exposure.
• Remember to 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 attire includes long-sleeved shirts, pants, hats, and sunglasses.
• Find shade: The sun is most intense 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. For this reason, it is important to stay protected throughout the year.
• Use the proper sunscreen: This is extremely important. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's new regulations for sunscreen labeling recommend that your sunscreen have a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, and should protect against both UV-A and UV-B rays.
• Use the proper 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 or a palm-full of sunscreen every two hours. You should apply it more often if you are sweating or swimming, even if the sunscreen is waterproof.
By educating ourselves and taking the proper precautions you and your loved ones can enjoy the sun safely. If you have any questions or concerns after being in the sun, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider.
Below are resources that can help you and your family learn more about UV safety.