Protect Yourself and Your Family From The Sun
Most everyone feels great when outdoors and in the sun, especially in the Northwest. That great feeling can quickly become a not so great feeling from prolonged exposure to the sun. Though most may enjoy the sun – nobody enjoys a sunburn, not to mention to possibility of sun cancer.
Sun Protection Tip #1: Be Aware of the Time and Wear Sunscreen
- You should try to avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. These times are the hottest of the day and also when the sun’s rays are most damaging to your skin.
- Always wear sunscreen with a minimum (SPF) of 15 or higher. Broad spectrum sunscreens absorb UVA and UVB rays of the sun and help to protect your skin from harmful rays.
- Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before sun exposure. Don’t forget the back of your neck, tops of the ears, and tops of your feet.
- Apply sunscreen to all exposed areas approximately 30 minutes before sun exposure. Use the amounts recommended by the manufacturer. Do not forget your face, the back of your neck, rims of your ears, and tops of your feet. Make sure to reapply every two hours, or after swimming or excessive sweating.
Sun Protection Tip #2: Wear Sun-Protective Clothing When Possible
- Choose hats and clothing with a high UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor). This is the amount of the sun’s UV rays that are being absorbed by your clothing before they get to your skin
- Try to choose clothing made from tightly-woven fabric. This will absorb more of the sun’s UV rays. Darker colors absorb rays better than light colors.
- Wear a wide-brim hat and sunglasses. A hat with a six inch brim all around is best. Choose sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays.
- Consider clothing that has been treated to offer more sun protection. Some clothing may be treated with special UV absorbers or chemical sunblock. Be aware, as these may lose their sun protective qualities over time.
Sun Protection Tip #3: Understand How UV Rays Work
Know how to protect yourself and others from the Sun’s Ultra Violet (UV) rays. Know how to read the UV Index, which is a daily report on the UV radiation levels in different areas in the country. Here are the numbers and what they mean:
- 0 to 2—Low danger from the sun’s UV rays for the average person. If you burn easily, make sure you apply sunscreen and wear clothes that protect your skin.
- 3 to 5—Moderate risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure. If you plan on being outside, wear sun-protective clothing. Avoid being outside around midday.
- 6 to 7—High risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure. Use sunscreen & wear sun-protective items, ie. Light colored clothing, a hat, and sunglasses. Reduce your exposure to the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- 8-10—Very high risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure. Follow the tips above, but be even more careful, especially during peak sun hours. You can burn quickly.
- 11+—Extreme risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure. Avoid sun exposure and try to remain in the shade as much as possible. Keep in mind that bright surfaces, such as sand, water, or snow increase UV exposure by reflecting light.