The sun can be brutal to your skin, especially during the warmer months of the year. Additionally, protection against its rays is often neglected by most people. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the need to protect your skin from the sun has become very clear over the years, supported by several studies linking overexposure to the sun with skin cancer.
The harmful ultraviolet rays from both the sun and indoor tanning “sunlamps” can cause many other complications besides skin cancer - such as eye problems, a weakened immune system, age spots, wrinkles, and leathery skin. UV rays are their strongest from 10 am to 4 pm Seek shade during those times to ensure the least amount of harmful UV radiation exposure.
When applying sunscreen be sure to reapply to all exposed skin at least 20 minutes before going outside. Reapply sunscreen every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating, according to the HHS. A significant amount of info can be found at this website: http://www.foh.hhs.gov/calendar/july.html.
As well, according to the University of Washington, UV or ultraviolet lamps are used in biological safety cabinets, light boxes, and cross linkers in many university laboratories and in some patient care rooms. One of the problems in working with UV radiation is that the symptoms of overexposure are not immediately felt so that persons exposed do not realize the hazard until after the damage is done.
The health effects of exposure to UV light are familiar to anyone who has had a sunburn. However, the UV light levels around some UV equipment greatly exceeds the levels found in nature. Acute (short-term) effects include redness or ulceration of the skin. At high levels of exposure, these burns can be serious. For chronic exposures, there is also a cumulative risk of harm. This risk depends upon the amount of exposure during your lifetime. The long-term risk for large cumulative exposure includes premature aging of the skin and even skin cancer.
The eyes are also susceptible to UV damage. Like the skin, the covering of the eye or the cornea, is epithelial tissue, too. The danger to the eye is enhanced by the fact that light can enter from all angles around the eye and not only in the direction you are looking. The lens can also be damaged, but since the cornea acts as a filter, the chances are reduced, according to the University of Washington.
This should not lessen the concern over lens damage however, because cataracts are the direct result of lens damage. Burns to the eyes are usually more painful and serious than a burn to the skin. Make sure your eye protection is appropriate for this work. More info on this type of UV exposure can be found at this site: http://www.ehs.washington.edu/rsononion/uvlight.shtm.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) protection from ultraviolet (UV) radiation is important all year round, not just during the summer or at the beach. UV rays from the sun can reach you on cloudy and hazy days, as well as bright and sunny days. UV rays also reflect off of surfaces like water, cement, sand, and snow. More details about UV protection can be found at this site: http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/prevention.htm.
People who get a lot of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays are at greater risk for skin cancer. Sunlight is the main source of UV rays, but you don’t have to avoid the sun completely, according to the American Cancer Society. And it would be unwise to stay inside if it would keep you from being active, because physical activity is important for good health. But getting too much sun can be harmful. There are some steps you can take to limit your exposure to UV rays.
Some people think about sun protection only when they spend a day at the lake, beach, or pool. But sun exposure adds up day after day, and it happens every time you are in the sun. Simply staying in the shade is one of the best ways to limit your UV exposure. If you are going to be in the sun, “Slip! Slop! Slap!® and Wrap” is a catchphrase that can help you remember some of the key steps you can take to protect yourself from UV rays:
· Slip on a shirt.
· Slop on sunscreen.
· Slap on a hat.
· Wrap on sunglasses to protect the eyes and skin around them.
Children need special attention. They tend to spend more time outdoors, can burn more easily, and may not be aware of the dangers. Parents and other caregivers should protect children from excess sun exposure by using the steps above. It’s important, particularly in sunnier parts of the world, to cover your children as fully as is reasonable. You should develop the habit of using sunscreen on exposed skin for yourself and your children whenever you go outdoors and may be exposed to large amounts of sunlight.
Children need to be taught about the dangers of too much sun exposure as they become more independent. If you or your child burns easily, be extra careful to cover up, limit exposure, and apply sunscreen. Many more details about UV safety can also be located at this site: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/sunanduvexposure/skincancerpreventionandearlydetection/skin-cancer-prevention-and-early-detection-u-v-protection.
According to the American Academy of Opthalmology, growths on the eye, such as pterygium, can show up in your teens or twenties, especially in surfers, skiers, fishermen, farmers, or anyone who spends long hours under the mid-day sun or in the UV-intense conditions found near rivers, oceans, and mountains. Diseases like cataract and eye cancers can take many years to develop, but each time you are out in the sun without protection you could be adding damage that adds to your risks for these serious disorders.
Additionally, as you sleep, your eyes enjoy continuous lubrication. During sleep the eyes also clear out irritants such as dust, allergens or smoke that may have accumulated during the day. Some research suggests that light sensitive cells in the eye are important in your ability to regulate wake-sleep cycles.
This may be more critical as you age, when more people have problems with insomnia. While it's important that you protect your eyes from overexposure to UV light, your eyes also need minimal exposure to natural light every day to help maintain normal sleep-wake cycles. More information on this topic can be found at this website: http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/living/sun.cfm.
July, which is UV Safety Month, and August are a great time to spread the message about sun, fun, and UV safety to the community. Be careful.
Until next time.