July is (Ultraviolet) UV Safety Awareness Month! Please help the Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center spread awareness about the dangers of UV light exposure and how important it is to protect our eyes and skin from the sun's harmful rays.
Ultraviolet (UV) rays are an invisible kind of radiation that comes from the sun, tanning beds, and sunlamps. UV rays can penetrate and change skin cells. There are three types of UV rays:
The strength of the sun's UV rays reaching the ground depends on a number of factors, such as:
Some people think about sun protection only when they spend a day at the lake, beach, or pool. But sun exposure adds up day after day, and it happens every time you are in the sun.
There are some simple steps you can take to limit your exposure to UV rays.
Sunscreen should not be used as a way to prolong your time in the sun. Even with proper sunscreen use, some UV rays still get through. Because of this, sunscreen should not be thought of as your first line of defense. Still, it's a valuable level of protection.
Check for SPF, broad spectrum, water resistance, and expiration dates. SPF values of 30 or higher are recommended. "Broad spectrum" protection can only be labeled as such if they have been tested and shown to protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Water resistance must state whether they protect the skin for 40 or 80 minutes of swimming/sweating based on testing. Most sunscreen is good for 2-3 years but check the expiration date to ensure that it's still effective. No sunscreens protects you completely.
Always follow the label for directions and apply sunscreen generously (about 1 ounce or palmful to cover arms, legs, neck and face for the average adult). Some sunscreen products can irritate skin so always be sure to read the label.
We want you to enjoy your Summer! We want you to be healthy too. That's why it's important to know about overexposure to UV rays and how to keep our skin and eyes protected—especially during UV Safety Awareness Month.
If you are having any problems after being in the sun, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider.