July is Ultraviolet Safety Month

Be Safe in the Sun! Learn more about the link between the sun’s rays and skin cancer, what you can do to help protect yourself, and how to spot skin changes that may require a doctor’s attention.

Get the Facts.

  • You are at an increased risk of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays during summer months, between 10 am and 4 pm.
  • You can even be exposed to UV rays on cloudy days.
  • Reflection from the snow, sand, and water increases sun exposure.
  • Most are vulnerable during outdoor activities, such as water sports, spending time at the beach, swimming, and sailing.

Take Action.

  • Reduce your risk of skin damage and skin cancer by seeking shade under an umbrella, tree, or other shelter.
  • Long-sleeved shirts and long pants and skirts can provide protection from UV rays.
  • Wear a hat with a brim all the way around that shades your face, ears, and the back of your neck.
  • Put on a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher before you go outside.

Avoid Sun Exposure.

The best way to prevent a sunburn is to avoid sun exposure.

Stay out of the midday sun (from 10 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon), which is the strongest sunlight. Find shade if you need to be outdoors. You can also calculate how much ultraviolet (UV) exposure you are getting by using the shadow rule: A shadow that is longer than you are means UV exposure is low; a shadow that is shorter than you are means the UV exposure is high.

Other ways to protect yourself from the sun include wearing protective clothing, such as:

  • Hats with wide 4 in. (10 cm) brims that cover your neck, ears, eyes, and scalp.
  • Sunglasses with UV ray protection, to prevent eye damage.
  • Loose-fitting, tightly woven clothing that covers your arms and legs.
  • Clothing made with sun protective fabric. These clothes have a special label that tells you how effective they are in protecting your skin from ultraviolet rays.

Sunscreen Protection

If you can’t avoid being in the sun, use sunscreen to help protect your skin while you are in the sun.

Be sure to read the information on the sunscreen label about its SPF value and how much protection it gives your skin. Follow the directions on the label for applying sunscreen so it is most effective in protecting your skin from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

Choosing a Sunscreen

  • Sunscreens come in lotions, gels, creams, ointments, and sprays. Use a sunscreen that: Has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 or higher. Says “broad-spectrum” that protects the skin from ultraviolet, and A and B (UVA and UVB) rays.
  • Use lip balm or cream that has SPF of 30 or higher to protect your lips from getting sunburned.
  • Take extra care to protect your skin when you’re near water, at higher elevations, or in tropical climates.

Sunscreens labeled “water-resistant” are made to protect people while they are swimming or sweating. The label will say if the sunscreen will protect you for 40 minutes or 80 minutes.

Find a Doctor

Call Community Health Net to schedule an appointment with a provider today: (814) 455-7222. Or visit www.communityhealthnet.org for more information.

Our health information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist the public to learn more about their health. Community Health Net providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.

Health Facts is a public service partnership of Community Health Net and CF Cares of Country Fair Stores, Inc.

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