Overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause various health problems, like skin cancer, although it can also cause muscle degeneration, cataracts, skin growths and suppression of the immune system.
To educate people about the dangers of overexposure to UV rays, the Department of Health and Human Services has decided to designate the month of July as UV Safety Awareness Month. Learn more about the dangers of overexposure to UV rays and some tips to avoid health problems with these tips by Tenderness Health Care.
What is Ultraviolet (UV) radiation?
Although it may seem curious, many people are unaware that UV light is a form of radiation, that is, an emission of energy. UV radiation is electromagnetic radiation and the main source of emission is the sun, although it can also come from artificial sources, such as a tanning bed or a welding torch.
The UV radiation that is emitted by the sun is at its highest when and where the sun’s rays are strongest, which means that UV levels will be highest around noon on a clear, sunny day, especially in summer. UV levels will also be higher near surfaces that reflect sunlight such as sand and snow, as well as in higher altitude regions.
In turn, there are two kinds of UV rays:
- UV-B rays have short wavelengths that reach the outer layer of your skin
- UV-A rays have longer wavelengths that can penetrate the middle layer of your skin
Risk Factors of UV overexposure
All of us are exposed to the consequences of overexposing ourselves to UV rays, although there are certain factors to which we must pay special attention to avoid suffering from any health problem. Among these risk factors we can mention:
- Very light skin
- Blond, red, or light brown hair
- If you have, have had or have family members with a history of skin cancer
You should also take into account the medications you take, as some of them can increase the sensitivity of the skin to the sun.
HHow to prevent damage from UV radiation?
Despite the risks of overexposure, there are ways to avoid them. Here are some tips you can use to take care of your skin and your health from radiation:
- Cover up – If possible, wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and hats. Wide-brimmed hats not only cover your face, but also protect other easy-to-forget spots like your ears and scalp.
- Wear sunglasses – Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays that can cause problems like cataracts. The ideal pair is one that blocks 99% to 100% of UV-B and UV-A rays.
- Limit your exposure to the sun – The best way to avoid damage from UV rays is to avoid exposure to sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., as this is when the sun’s rays are strongest. Plan your outdoor activities for early in the morning or later in the afternoon. It is also good to find or create shade during those hours, such as using a beach umbrella.
- Use sunscreen correctly – Sunscreen should be applied to all parts of the body that will be exposed to the sun at least 15 minutes before going out, even if it is cloudy. Sunscreen is most effective when used with other methods of sun protection, such as those listed above. Choose one with at least SPF 15 and one that offers broad-spectrum protection against UV-A and UV-B rays. A layer of sunscreen does not last all day, it is necessary to reapply sunscreen every two hours including hands and feet, especially after swimming or sweating.
- Avoid tanning – There is no such thing as a safe tan, natural or artificial. Tanning beds, tanning booths, and sunlamps expose you to intense ultraviolet radiation, which increases your risk of skin cancer and skin damage.
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Now that you know some ways to protect your body and your health from UV radiation, you can apply them to yourself and share them with your loved ones, so that everyone can enjoy well-being.
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