July is UV Safety Month!
What is UV radiation?
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a form of electromagnetic radiation that comes from the sun and man-made sources like tanning beds and welding torches.
UV radiation is divided into 3 main groups:
- UVA rays have the least energy among UV rays. These rays can cause skin cells to age and can cause some indirect damage to cells’ DNA. UVA rays are mainly linked to long-term skin damage such as wrinkles, but they are also thought to play a role in some skin cancers.
- UVB rays have slightly more energy than UVA rays. They can damage the DNA in skin cells directly, and are the main rays that cause sunburns. They are also thought to cause most skin cancers.
- UVC rays have more energy than the other types of UV rays. Fortunately, because of this, they react with ozone high in our atmosphere and don’t reach the ground, so they are not normally a risk factor for skin cancer. But UVC rays can also come from some man-made sources, such as arc welding torches, mercury lamps, and UV sanitizing bulbs used to kill bacteria and other germs (such as in water, air, food, or on surfaces).
Sunlight is the main form of UV Radiation. The strength of them depends on the time of the day. You can check you local weather to avoid the time of day that will be the worst. It also can depend on the season, the altitude, and the contents of the air. Tanning Beds, Black lamps, and phototherapy aslo have UV rays, but they are man made. Studies have shown that people who use tanning beds have a highger risk for basal cell carcinoma and melanoma, both types of skin cancer.
Here are some tips to stay safe in the sun!
- Slip on a shirt.
- Slop on sunscreen.
- Slap on a hat.
- Wrap on sunglasses to protect the eyes and skin around them.
- Stay in the Shade.
- Go outside when the UV rays are the weakest.
- Always check the local weather.
**Some info taken from the American Cancer Society**