Protect Yourself from Harmful UV Rays

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a man standing in a canyon with the sun shining through the rocks

When planning to be outside in the summer, one of the most important things to remember is how to protect yourself from ultraviolet (UV) rays.

Many of us spend most of the year looking forward to the summer months. The sunny weather inspires vacation plans, outdoor activities, summer festivals, and trips to the pool or beach. With so many activities packed in, it’s easy to overlook things. When planning to be outside in the summer, one of the most important things to remember is how to protect yourself from ultraviolet (UV) rays.

July is UV Safety Month. As we enjoy the beautiful summertime weather, we need to consider several issues about the effects of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. We need sunshine. It helps with our body’s Vitamin D production and may cause depression in some people who don’t get enough. However, overexposure to the sun can lead to various health risks. You may be surprised about some of the specific dangers of sun exposure and how to protect yourself.

There are two main types of UV light, UVA and UVB. UVB gives you sunburn and is responsible for some types of skin cancers. UVA rays are the ones that can make the skin leathery and wrinkly in appearance, and these also can contribute to certain skin cancers. (An easy way to remember: “A” is for aging, and “B” is for burning). Both types are harmful to you in different ways.

UV light can harm the skin, as many of us who have been badly sunburned know. However, it can also be terrible for our eyes. UV radiation damages eye structures such as the cornea, retina, and lens, so protecting your eyes is vital.