During these hot months, many are excited to enjoy quality time at the pool, a family hike on your favorite trail, a trip to the beach and other outdoor activities. While soaking up some vitamin D can be beneficial, too much sun can be harmful. July is National Ultraviolet Safety Month.
What is UV-A and UV-B?
The energy given off by the sun is broken down into 2 categories: UV-A and UV-B. Exposure to both UV-A and UV-B rays can cause skin cancer, which is the most common cancer within the United States.
How can you stay safe in the sun?
Damage from UV rays can develop over time. It is crucial to start sun protection practices early in your life. There are many ways you can protect yourself and your family from harmful UV radiation:
- Apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher.
- Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs.
- Stay in shaded areas during midday hours.
- Grab a hat to wear that covers your head, ears, neck, and face.
- Wear sunglasses that protect from both UVA and UVB rays.
Treat your sunburn
According to the Mayo Clinic, a sunburn is a thermal burn that makes skin red and painful, and may be hot to the touch. It usually appears within a few hours after too much exposure to UV light, but may take days to fade.
To get some relief, follow these tips to treat your sunburn:
- Apply a cold compress to the sunburnt area.
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever for discomfort and inflammation.
- Use aloe vera or similar cooling ointment to get rid of the heat on the skin.
- Avoid more sun exposure until you feel comfortable again.
- Dink plenty of water and avoid beverages such as alcohol that could dehydrate you.
- If the sunburn is severe and shows any signs of infection, seek medical care.