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Stay Safe in the Sun

By Kristie Popa

Summer is almost here and the warmer weather is calling us outside!  Being outside has a tremendous amount of benefits including the opportunity for Vitamin D and exercise, but it also brings a chance for sun damage in as little as 15 minutes of exposure. Sun protection methods are extremely important throughout the year but especially when you are spending your days outside enjoying the warm air, beach, outdoor games and more. It is important to remember that EVERYONE is at risk for a sunburn and they are most at risk when the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 am and 4pm.

Sun protection oftentimes comes in the form of sunscreen but sunburns can also be avoided through the use of select clothes made of UV protective fabrics, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses.  Sunscreen works by absorbing, reflecting, or scattering sunlight.  They contain chemicals that work with the skin to protect it from UV rays.  When choosing a sunscreen, look for one with the words “broad-spectrum” on the label as these types of sunscreen protect against ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet A (UVA) rays.  In addition, the sunscreen should be at least SPF 15.  Do your best to apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outdoors and consider using zinc oxide for extra protection on your nose, cheeks, or top of ears and shoulders.  It is important to remember to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours or immediately after swimming or sweating.

Take a second to check out the UV Index in your area to see what the recommendations are to help you protect yourself from the sun’s rays. The EPA’s website is: enviro.epa.gov ; all you need is your zip code for more information.

Information derived from healthychildren.org and cdc.gov

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