UV Safety Awareness Month: Tips to be Safe in the Sun

UV Safety Awareness Month: Tips to be Safe in the Sun

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has declared July as Ultraviolet (UV) Safety Awareness Month to emphasize the importance of protecting yourself from the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays. UV exposure damages your eyes while increasing the risk of skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, UV exposure contributes to 90% of non-melanoma skin cancer and skin aging.

 A survey reveals that 34% of adults among 10,000 adults have experienced eye irritation, red or swollen eyes, and vision difficulties from prolonged UV exposure. Therefore, it is essential to stay safe in the sun to minimize and avoid the risk of any health complications.

Continue reading to learn more about UV rays and summer safety tips to stay protected against the sun.

What Are UV Rays and Their Types?

UV rays are invisible radiation emanating from the sun, sunlamps, and tanning beds. They include three types:

  • Ultraviolet A (UVA) Rays

They penetrate deep into your skin layers, causing premature aging signs, such as wrinkles and fine lines. While the amount of UVA rays remain consistent throughout the year, it peaks in summer and winter. The result of this is that it exceeds the UVB rays. Even a cloudy day can emit 80% of UVA rays that damage our skin and eyes. However, tanning beds mostly emit UVA rays, so avoid using them as much as possible. 

  • Ultraviolet B (UVB) Rays

These rays penetrate your skin’s outermost layer (epidermis), damaging skin cells and thus causing sunburns, skin thickening, and several types of skin cancers, including melanoma. They also damage the immune system and eyes.

  • Ultraviolet C (UVC) Rays

These are the strongest radiation rays from the sun, but they don’t reach the Earth due to the atmosphere’s ozone layer blocking them. Nonetheless, we can be exposed to UVC rays through artificial sources such as sunlamps and lasers. Even limited (few seconds) exposures to these rays can cause severe eye injuries and sunburns. However, they resolve in a week without causing long-term health risks, as the UVC rays don’t penetrate deeply into the skin.

Impact of UV Rays on the Skin

UV rays can impact our skin in the following ways:

  • Premature aging
  • Wrinkles 
  • Loss of skin elasticity (sagging skin)
  • Actinic keratosis (scaly patches)
  • Solar elastosis (thick, yellowed skin appearing furrowed or bumpy)
  • Liver spots (brown or black spots)
  • Freckles 
  • Uneven skin tone
  • Dry, coarse skin

Impact of UV Rays on the Eyes

UV rays can cause the following issues in our eyes:

  • Inflamed or burned cornea (front window of the eye)
  • Pterygium (tissue growth on the eye surface)
  • Cataracts (clouding of the eye lens)
  • Photokeratitis (red, painful, watery eyes)
  • Photoconjunctivitis (inflammation of the conjunctiva)

Tips for Protecting Yourself Against UV Rays

According to the American Safety and Health Institute, unprotected sun exposure takes only 15 minutes to begin damaging your skin. Therefore, follow these tips to protect yourself from the sun:

  • Use Sunscreen 

Apply sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) 30 on your skin at least twice a day for protection against sunburns. Use water-proof sunscreen while swimming or if you have sweating issues. 

  • Cover Your Skin 

Wearing a hat, full-sleeved shirts, and long pants while going out. This will help prevent UV rays from penetrating your skin. 

  • Limit Outdoor Activities

Sun rays and heat waves from 10 am to 4 pm will be very intense, causing skin and eye issues. Therefore, avoid going out at such times and plan your outdoor activities in the evening time. 

  • Wear Sunglasses

Wear sunglasses that block UV rays, even if you wear contact lenses with UV protection. 

  • Don’t Look at the Sun

Avoid looking directly at the sun at any time, which can cause solar retinopathy that damages the eyes’ retina.

Following these tips will help you enjoy the summer to the fullest while maintaining your health and wellness at an optimum level.

Protect Your Skin and Eye Health with 8-2-8 Urgent Care 

Constant exposure to ultraviolet rays can be dangerous for our bodies. That’s why it’s important to cover your skin and eyes when you are out in the scorching sun. However, if you face sunburn issues or eye irritation, visit us at the 8-2-8 Urgent Care walk-in clinic in Oceanside, CA, today. Our experienced healthcare providers can quickly diagnose your condition and create a personalized treatment regimen to ensure immediate and maximum relief. 


Content Source: ASHI, Skin Cancer Foundation

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