sun exposure - The Pulse
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UV Safety Month
With Summer well underway attention turns to the usual outdoor summer activities: beaches, barbeques, and bicycles, and bathing suits are at the top of everyone's mind. With all this focus on outdoor activities, this month's Pulse focuses on protecting against the harmful affects of Ultra Violet Radiation. July is National UV (ultraviolet) Safety Month, please take a moment to brush up on techniques for protecting your face, skin, and eyes from the harmful affects of the sun.
UV Radiation has both positive and negative effects. Positive effects of UV radiation include warmth, light, photosynthesis in plants, and vitamin D synthesis in the body. UV radiation also increases moods in people and kills pathogens (see diagram). But overexposure to UV radiation has adverse health effects. Overexposure to UV radiation is the primary environmental risk factor in the development of UV-related adverse health effects, which include diseases of the eye, immune suppression, and skin cancers.
Teaching Children about Sun Protection.
Children are most at risk for overexposure to UV radiation. With one in five Americans developing skin cancer, childhood education about sun protection is a vital step toward reducing risk and improving public health. Many studies have concluded that sun exposure, especially sunburn, during childhood appears to increase the risk of melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer. Just one or two blistering sunburns in childhood can double a person's risk of developing melanoma later in life.
Children are of particular concern because they spend a lot of time outdoors. Perhaps most importantly, skin cancer and other UV-related adverse health effects are largely preventable if sun protection practices are followed early and consistently. Educating school staff and students about sun safety can prevent many health problems related to overexposure to the sun.
KidsHealth.com: Sunburn Instruction Sheet
The damaging effects of UV rays on skin
The short-term results of unprotected exposure to UV rays are tanning and sunburn.
A sunburn causes skin redness, tenderness, pain, and in some cases, swelling and blistering. Symptoms of more serious sunburn include fever, chills, upset stomach, and confusion. If these symptoms develop, see a doctor.
The long-term effect of sunburn is more serious.
UV exposure that is intense enough to cause sunburn clearly increases a person's risk of developing skin cancer. And UV exposure can increase skin cancer risk even without causing sunburn.
Long-term exposure can also cause premature changes in skin including:
Actinic keratoses are small (usually less than 1/4 inch) rough or scaly spots. Usually they develop on the face, ears, back of the hands, and arms of middle-aged or older people with fair skin, although they can develop on other sun-exposed areas of the skin. Although actinic keratoses grow slowly and usually do not cause any symptoms, they sometimes turn into squamous cell cancer.
Besides skin cancer, the sun's UV radiation also increases the risk of cataracts and certain other eye problems, and can suppress the immune system.
SOURCES AND LINKS:
Gold Bamboo Resources
UV light and Eyes.- Source: American Academy of Ophthalmology
During July, UV Safety Month, the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Eye M.D.s around the country encourage everyone to protect their eyes from UV-related damage.
To protect your eyes, wear a brimmed hat and the right kind of sunglasses when you are going to be exposed to UV light.
It's important to protect your eyes when UV light is most intense.
UV Safety Month
Sun Safety Tips
Limit Exposure to Midday Sun
Avoid or limit exposure to the sun between 10 am and 4 pm, when UV rays are strongest and do the most damage. When outside, seek shade whenever possible.
Sunscreens alone do not protect your skin from the sun. Wear a wide-brimmed hat, tightly woven full-length clothing, and UV-protective sunglasses to shield your skin and eyes from the sun. Remember to use sunscreen on any exposed skin.
Use sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher at least 15 minutes before going outside. Choose a sunscreen that has both UVA and UVB protection and apply liberally. Reapply sunscreen every two hours or more frequently after sweating or being in the water.
Protect Children from the Sun
Minimize children's exposure to sunlight between 10 am and 4 pm. When outdoors, protect children by using wide-brimmed hats, tightly woven full-length clothing, UV-protective sunglasses, and liberally applying sunscreen that is rated at least SPF 15 and provides both UVA and UVB protection. Scientists have found a link between childhood sunburn and skin cancer later in life.
Avoid Indoor Tanning
Avoid exposure to radiation from sunlamps, tanning parlors, or other artificial tanning devices. Exposure to UV rays from any source can lead to skin damage.
What to do to sooth a sunburn?What can you do right away to minimize the damage from sunburn?