Summer has arrived and while the sun is shining bright it’s a golden time to highlight July as UV Safety Awareness Month! The sun emits radiation known as UV-A and UV-B rays. Both types can damage your eyes and skin: UV-B rays have short wavelengths that reach the outer layer of your skin and UV-A rays have longer wavelengths that can penetrate the middle layer of your skin. 1. Cover Up: Wearing a Hat (preferably wide-brimmed) or other
shade-protective clothing can partly shield your skin from the harmful effects of UV ray exposure. Proper clothing may include long-sleeved shirts, pants, hats, and sunglasses – for eye protection.
2. Stay in the Shade: The sun’s glare is most intense at midday. Staying in the shade between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. will further protect your skin. The sun can still damage your skin on cloudy days or in the winter. For this reason, it is important to stay protected throughout the year.
3. Choose the Right Sunscreen: This is extremely important. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) new regulations for sunscreen labeling recommend that your sunscreen have a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, and should protect against both Ultraviolet A (UV-A) and Ultraviolet B (UV-B) rays. The info on the label can be confusing. Look for broad-spectrum that block both UV-A and UV-B. SPF stands for Sunburn
Protection Factor. SPF ratings are determined in a laboratory setting. SPF-30 products are estimated to allow 1/30 of the sun’s burning rays to get through to the skin. SPF-50 allows 1/50 to get through. SPF 30 filters 97% of the suns UVB rays. No sunscreen can filter out 100% of the suns rays. There’s no such thing as 100% waterproof sunscreen It’s important
to reapply every 2 hours at least, more often if you are sweating or swimming.
4. Use the Right Amount of Sunscreen: According to the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, most people apply only 25-50 percent of the recommended amount of sunscreen. When out in the sun, it’s important that you apply at least one ounce (a palmful) of sunscreen every two hours. You should apply it more often if you are sweating or swimming, even if the sunscreen is waterproof.
Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are potential problems in hot weather. The risk is higher when the humidity is high. Signs of heat exhaustion include: Cool, moist skin with goosebumps when in the heat, heavy sweating, faintness, dizziness, fatigue, weak, rapid pulse, low blood pressure upon standing, muscle cramps, nausea, headache. There are a number of ways to prevent heat exhaustion. Wear lightweight and loose-fitting clothing.
Sunburn interferes with the body’s ability to regulate heat, so avoiding sunburn is important. Keep hydrated, avoiding alcoholic beverages. Be aware that some medications also interfere with heat control. Never leave a person, pet, anyone in a car who is unable to get out. Avoid being outside in the hottest part of the day. Don’t spend a lot of time in the heat if you are not used to it.
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
― Lao Tzu
Christy Friedel, Parish Nurse, Spiritual Director