Fun in the sun, but safely

By Pam Daniel - For the News Journal

July is Ultraviolet (UV) Safety Month. Enjoy the sunshine — but take precautions to keep yourself safe and healthy.

Most of us get our exposure to UV rays from sun exposure. Other sources of UV rays include tanning beds and sun lamps. Exposure to UV rays add up day after day.

The greater your exposure, the greater your chance of developing skin changes that can lead to skin cancer, early aging and eye injuries.

UV rays are strongest in the middle of the day between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and are stronger during spring and summer. Don’t let a cloudy day fool you, UV rays can get through clouds and still cause damage. UV rays bounce off surfaces such as water, sand, snow or pavement and can intensify the effects of the rays.

The UV index gives you an idea of how strong the UV light is in your area on any given day. The higher the number the greater risk of UV exposure and sunburn resulting in skin damage.

So what can you do to prevent damage from UV rays? When you spend time outdoors for work or recreation wear protective clothing and sunscreen. Choose sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays and with sun protection factor (SPF) 30 or higher. Be sure to read the label and apply as label recommends.

Wearing hats and sunglasses help block UV rays. Stay out of the direct sunlight and find shade whenever possible. Avoid tanning beds and sun lamps.

Should I avoid the sun completely? No, our bodies need sun exposure because it helps with production of Vitamin D. Your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium and keeps your body functioning. Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency can include muscle weakness, pain, fatigue and depression.

So just like everything moderations is key to good health. So have your fun in the sun but be smart and safe!

Get ready for back to school! Call the Clinton County Health District at 937-382-3829 to schedule your immunizations. Currently, all immunizations are being done by appointment only.

Pam Daniel is Health Educator with the Clinton County Health District.

By Pam Daniel

For the News Journal