UV Safety During The Hot Summer
July is UV safety awareness month
Did you know that it only takes 15 minutes for the sun’s UV rays to cause damage to your skin?
As an annoying little insurance lizard constantly tells us on TV, 15 minutes is not a lot of time (and definitely not enough time to properly obtain insurance coverage). And yet I bet there are millions of people who do not take the time to protect their skin when they are going to be out in the sun for that short of a time period. And I can count myself in with this group.
As I have gotten older, I have begun to pay more attention to UV safety and protecting myself from the sun’s damaging UV rays.
We all can remember growing up, with our sisters and cousins laying out to get a sun tan using baby oil to speed up the tanning process.
We were young and it seemed like a great idea at the time. But not so much now that we are all grown up.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) puts out the following recommendations to help protect yourself and your family from the sun:
Finding shade from a tree, umbrella, building, or other shelter can provide valuable relief from the sun. Although it is still recommended that you protect your skin by using sun screen or with protective clothing when you are outside – even when you are in the shade.
Wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, long skirts etc. can provide protection from the sun’s ultra violet rays. Many brands of clothing now come with a UV rating, which lets you know how protective they can be from the sun’s rays. In general, darker clothing provides more protection that lighter clothing. Dry Clothing protects more that wet clothing. And a tightly woven fabric provides the best protection.
If the long sleeves or pants are not possible, please take the necessary steps to protect your exposed skin.
The best hat to wear for sun protection is one that has a brim all the way around. The brim will provide shade for your face, ears and neck areas. So now can see, the cowboy hat has a practical use to the farmers and ranchers that are out on the range all day working in the sun.
Avoid straw hats or ones with holes that allow the rays to get through.
When thinking of sun protection, please do not forget about your eyes. Sunglasses provide protection for your eyes from UV rays, which reduces the risk of cataracts as you get older. They also protect the sensitive skin around your eyes as well. Most sunglasses sold in the US meet the standard to block both UVA and UVB rays.
We all know that there are hundreds of options for sunscreen in the stores these days.
The CDC recommends using a broad spectrum sunscreen with at least an SPF rating of 15 before you step outside, even on cloudy or cool days. I personally do not use anything less than SPF30 and usually use SPF50.
Don’t forget to cover all exposed skin. If you can’t reach a part of your body, ask for help. If you can’t get help with the sunscreen, then find a way to cover that area with clothing.
Sunscreen does wear off over time, so re application during the day is important to maintain the proper protection. The recommendation is to re-apply after two hours, especially if you are sweating, swimming or having to towel off.
Make sure your sun screen is not expired. Sunscreen usually has a shelf life of about 3 years. Sometimes less if exposed to higher temperatures, like left in a car…
Make sure you protect your lips as well. Some cosmetics, like lipstick or chapstick, can provide protection. But again, make sure it is at least SPF 15 and you will have to re-apply to your lips more often, so keep them handy as you are outside.
In closing, I really love being outdoors, as do many millions of other folks. But we all have to remember to take a few minutes each time we go outside to make sure we are protecting ourselves from the sun’s UV rays.
Those sun’s rays make our world beautiful, but they can also cause major damage to our skin if we do not use the proper precautions.
Go out and enjoy your summer. Have fun, stay safe, and protect your skin!
For more information from the CDC about sun protection, you can visit their site at https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/sun-safety.htm
Huff Insurance is a full service independent insurance agency. And just like these tips can protect you from the sun, our staff is here to protect you against financial disaster.