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Protection from dangerous UV rays best way to be safe in the sun

Wed June 29, 2011

DUPAGE COUNTY-The July 4th weekend means fun-in-the-sun, but it could also lead to overexposure of dangerous ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which is harmful to skin.  For those planning on being outdoors, the DuPage County Health Department has some helpful summer-sun safety tips.

While overexposure to UV radiation can cause temporary, painful sunburn, it can also lead to more serious, long-term, health problems such as skin cancer, premature aging, cataracts, eye damage and immune system suppression. Children are particularly at risk.

By following these simple steps, residents can enjoy their time in the sun while also protecting themselves from UV overexposure:

  • Generously apply sunscreen: about one ounce to cover all exposed skin 20 minutes before going outside. Sunscreen should have a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 SPF and provide protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Reapply every two hours, even on cloudy days and after swimming or sweating.
  • Wear protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts and pants, wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses when possible.
  • Seek shade when possible and remember that the sun's UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Use extra caution near water or sand, which reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.
  • Check the UV Index, which provides information to help you plan your outdoor activities in ways that prevent sun overexposure. The UV Index forecast is issued daily by the National Weather Service and EPA.
  • Early detection of skin cancer can save your life. A new or changing mole should be evaluated by a dermatologist.
  • Don't seek the sun for Vitamin D. Get Vitamin D safely through a diet that includes vitamin supplements and foods fortified with Vitamin D.
  • Avoid sun tanning and tanning beds. The UV light from tanning beds and the sun cause skin cancer and wrinkling.
  • For babies under 6 months, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends avoiding sun exposure and by dressing infants in lightweight long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and brimmed hats. Parents can also apply sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher) to small areas like the face and back of the hands if protective clothing and shade are not available.

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Protection from dangerous UV rays best way to enjoy summer fun