Several government bodies have set July as UV Safety Month. It's a time to recognize that as much as we rely on the sun to help us kick back and have some fun, there are inherent dangers any time you're outside for too long. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the bulk of skin melanomas are the result of sun exposure. In fact, a 2015 study in the JAMA Dermatology put the number as high as 86 percent in the U.S. But that doesn't mean you should avoid the sun entirely this summer, and it's important to take this UV Safety Month to find ways to better protect your skin.
"Sun exposure causes nearly 86% of melanomas in the U.S."
Here are just a few handy UV-related tips you might have never considered:
1. Bring enough sunscreen
By now, most people are aware of the importance of sunscreen in protecting your skin. As a rule, anything with an SPF between 15 and 50 is going to work best, and it's important to reapply every few hours. However, as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs pointed out, not enough people utilize enough sunscreen. By most estimates, people only use about half the recommended amount. To ensure you're getting the most out of your sunscreen, apply one ounce every two hours – that should be about a palmful of lotion.
2. Consider your exposure
If you plan to spend your entire day on the beach, then it makes sense to apply sunscreen regularly. But people engaged in other activities, say a leisurely bike ride,tend to avoid sunscreen almost entirely. However, as the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services explained, other locales can prove to be just as dangerous in terms of UV exposure.
For instance, high altitude destinations – like those you might encounter during a lengthy hike – can increase your exposure to harmful UV. Because there is less atmosphere to shield you, it's especially important to maintain apply sunscreen and wear the proper clothing. Consider this as you plan any of your summer outings.
3. Study the UV index
The amount of UV rays you can expect during your beach excursion or scenic hike can change from day to day. That's why the Environmental Protection Agency came up with its very own UV index website. Here, you can punch in your zip code and get a better understanding of the possible risk for UV overexposure.
Anything below a two is low risk and requires sunscreen. Six to seven is more moderate, requiring proper clothing and sunglasses. Anything over 11, meanwhile, is extreme and requires the utmost protection and caution. Knowing the UV index before any day trip is going to help to plan more safely.
Finding a partner
If you're worried about your UV exposure or that you've experienced some other heat-related injury, be sure to head to the nearest CareWell Urgent Care Center. With highly trained doctors at facilities across the Eastern Seaboard, CareWell can treat most ailments and get you back outside for some well-deserved fun.