The Truth About UV Rays

Did you know that July is Ultraviolet Radiation Awareness Month? To be honest, I didn’t either. Shame on us! Every year in July health organizations such as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) use their online presence to inform the public about the dangers of the sun and the importance of protecting yourself from its harmful rays.

At the Grafton-Taylor County Health Department we also want to encourage the citizens of Taylor County to protect their skin and prevent dangerous side effects of UV exposure. As always, we have some general information and tips for you.

Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation is a form of radiation that is emitted by the sun and other sources, such as tanning beds (CDC). UV radiation comes in three primary forms: ultraviolet A (UVA), ultraviolet B (UVB), and ultraviolet C (UVC). Fortunately, UVC is absorbed by the earth’s ozone layer – so we’re safe. Unfortunately, we’re not safe from UVA and UVB rays.

While UV radiation can benefit us slightly, the health risks far outweigh the benefits. Did you know that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends only 15-45 minutes of sun exposure PER WEEK? That small amount of exposure is all our human bodies need. I can guarantee that sun dose is a lot smaller than what most of us have been taking!

That being said, it’s okay to spend a little extra time basking in the sun as long as we do so safely and responsibly! Here are some useful tips to help you protect your family from UV radiation:

  • Wear sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. Extra tip: make sure your SPF is effective for both UVA and UVB rays.

  • Stay in the shade as much as possible during midday hours.

  • Wear protective clothing and sunglasses to protect your skin and eyes from overexposure.

  • Avoid indoor tanning. A beautiful summer glow isn’t worth premature aging and skin cancer, I promise!

Some of these tips may seem like common sense, but they are important enough to mention. Avoiding UV radiation can protect you from some scary health risks such as: sunburn, premature aging, skin cancer, potentially blinding eye diseases, and more! Pretty scary, huh?

Fortunately, following these easy tips can help you keep your family happy and healthy all summer long! If you’d like more information about UV rays or how you can avoid their harmful side effects, please don’t hesitate to call our office during normal business hours (Monday-Friday; 8AM-4PM) at 304-265-1288, or by visiting our website at WWW.GTCHDWV.ORG. We look forward to answering your questions!

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