July is UV Safety Month
It’s July and that means people are outdoors hitting the beach, fishing, and going on vacation in the Florida sun, which means it is the perfect time to observe UV Safety Month. Any time spent outdoors during the day exposes the body to ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
Ultraviolet radiation is the primary cause of skin cancer, and is composed of UVA (long-wave) and UVB (short-wave) rays. UVA rays go deep into the skin into the subcutaneous skin layer, and can cause wrinkles. UVB rays affect the top layers of skin, and are the main cause of sunburn. Both types are able to cause skin cancer. The rate of melanoma among young adults has skyrocketed in the last forty years. Among people 18 to 39, cases of melanoma have increased 800 percent in women and 400 percent in men.
In response to these statistics, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has created more stringent guidelines for sunscreen labeling. Now, sunscreen packaging that claim broad-spectrum protection (protects from both UVA and UVB rays) must meet FDA requirements for blocking UVA rays and have an sun protection factor (SPF) rating of at least 15.
While skin cancer is dangerous and potentially deadly, the good news is it is one of the most preventable forms of cancer. Following these sun safety tips will help protect you from the harmful effects of the sun:
- Plan outdoor activities around when the sun’s rays are strongest (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.)
- Apply a palm-full of a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher 15-20 minutes before going outdoors
- Re-apply sunscreen after perspiring, swimming, or towel drying
- Wear protective clothing such as tight-weave shirts, wide-brimmed hats that protect the face, ears, and neck, and sunglasses that offer UV protection
- Stay in the shade when possible, whether from umbrellas, canopies, or other outdoor structures
- Avoid artificial UV light sources such as tanning beds and sun lamps