Sun Exposure Safety

Sun Exposure Safety

Sun Exposure Safety

While some exposure to sunlight can be enjoyable, too much can be dangerous. Overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can result in painful sunburn. It can also lead to more serious health problems, including skin cancer, premature aging of the skin, cataracts and other eye damage, and immune system suppression. Children are particularly at risk. Most people are not aware that skin cancer, while largely preventable, is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than one million cases are reported annually. By following some simple steps, you can still enjoy your time in the sun and protect yourself from overexposure.

Kids Applying Sunscreen

Generously apply sunscreen

Use about one ounce to cover all exposed skin 20 minutes before going outside. Sunscreen should have a SPF of at least 15 and provide protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Re-apply sunscreen every two hours – even on cloudy days and after swimming or sweating.

Do not burn

Sunburns significantly increase the risk of developing skin cancer, especially for children.

Poolside Woman with Sunhat and Glasses

Wear protective clothing

Wearing protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses will prevent too much sun exposure.

Seek shade

Seek shade whenever possible and remember that the sun’s UV rays are the strongest between 10am and 4pm.

Use Extra Caution

Be sure to use extra caution when near water, snow and sand. These elements reflect the rays of the sun and increase the chance of sunburn.

Check the UV index

Be sure to check the UV index issued by the National Weather Service. It provides important information to help you plan outdoor activities in ways that prevent sun exposure.

UV Ratings and What the Numbers Mean to You

The UV index is an international standard measurement of how strong the ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is at a particular place on a particular day. It is a scale primarily used in daily forecasts aimed at the general public. Developed by the National Weather Service and EPA, it indicates the strength of solar UV radiation on a scale from 1 (low) to 11+ (extremely high). You can use the UV Index to take appropriate sun-protective behaviors and avoid overexposure to UV radiation.

Below are the precautions you should take provided the UV Index number:

UV

Suggestion

Sunburn Time

0-2

Minimal protection is needed – Wearing a hat is sufficient

More than 1 hour

3-4

Low – Hat and sunscreen with at least SPF 15 is recommended

More than 1 hour

5-6

Moderate – Wearing a hat, applying sunscreen with at least SPF 15 and taking shade whenever possible is recommended

About 30 minutes

7-9

HI​GH – In addition to the precautions recommended above, it is advised to stay indoors between 10am and 4pm

About 20 minutes

10+

VERY HIGH – In addition to the precautions recommended above, it is advised to stay indoors, if possible

Less than 15 minutes