Community Health & Environment

Sun Safety Facts from NEW Health

by Mary Wright, RN, health educator at North End Waterfront Health

Summer is almost here and it’s time to think about protecting yourself and your children from the harmful rays of the sun. Everyone should practice sun safety year round but it is especially important during late spring and early summer when the UV rays are the greatest.

Here are some tips to help you stay safe:

  • Be sure to use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 that is broad spectrum. This means that the sunscreen will protect you against both UVA and UVB rays. More research is needed on sunscreens with an SPF of 50 or above to prove that they provide more protection.
  • Sunscreen should be applied 15 minutes before you go into the sun and every 2 hours after that. You should use at least 1 ounce or about a shot glass full. Don’t forget your ears, lips, and neck.
  • Be sure to check the expiration date as sunscreen has a shelf life of about 3 years.
  • For added protection, wear a wide-brimmed hat, long sleeved shirt, and long pants.
  • Try to avoid the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Stay in the shade as much as possible. Remember that you can burn on a cloudy day.
  • Wear sunglasses that provide UV protection.
  • Be aware that some medications, including antibiotics, and acne medications, may increase sensitivity to the sun.
  • Infants under the age of 6 months should not be in the sun.
  • Avoid tanning beds.
  • Get Vitamin D from your diet instead of from the sun.

For more information, go to www.cancer.org/healthy/besafeinthesun

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