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July is UV Safety Awareness Month, and there’s no denying it's hot outside! We all love to take in the warm summer rays, but it’s also important to protect ourselves in the process. Learning the answers to the questions below will help bring you one step closer to enjoying the sun safely.

What is UV, and is it harmful?

Utraviolet (UV) is an electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength from 10 nm to 400 nm and is not visible to humans. Prolonged exposure to UV radiation may result in damage to your skin, eyes, and immune system. Long term exposure can lead to skin damage and premature skin again, eye damage and possibly even skin cancer and cataracts.

Is UV protection necessary?

Yes! Sun protection should not just be thought about when you plan to work in the yard or spend a day at the pool. Exposure to UV radiation happens every time you are in the sun and adds up day after day. It’s good to make a habit of protecting your skin from the sun every time you are in it. People who especially need UV protection if they have one or more of the following risk factors:

      • You have fair skin
      • You have light colored eyes
      • You have had a sunburn or a history of sunburns
      • You have had excessive exposure to the sun
      • You have a family or personal history of skin cancer
      • You have a weakened immune system
      • You have been exposure to radiation

How do you protect against UV?

  • Cover up. Wear tightly-woven clothing that blocks out light.
  • Use sunscreen. A sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 blocks 93 percent of UV rays.
  • Wear a hat. A wide brim hat (not a baseball cap) is ideal because it protects the neck, ears, eyes, forehead, nose, & scalp.
  • Wear UV-absorbent shades.
  • Limit exposure.

While outdoor activities are a key part of a healthy lifestyle, it is also important to take precautions when it comes to the harmful UV rays of the sun.