Many of us spend the better part of the year looking forward to the summer months. The sunny weather inspires vacation plans, outdoor activities, summer festivals, and trips to the pool or beach. With so many activities packed in, it's easy to overlook things. One of the most important things to remember when planning to be outside in the summer is how to protect yourself ultraviolet (UV) rays.
July is UV Safety Month. As we enjoy the beautiful summertime weather, we need to keep in mind several issues about the effects of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. We need sunshine. It helps with our body’s production of Vitamin D and has been tied to issues of depression in some people who don’t get enough. However, overexposure to the sun can lead to a variety of health risks. You may be surprised about some of the specific dangers of sun exposure and how you can protect yourself.
There are two main types of UV light, UVA and UVB. UVB is what gives you your sunburn and is responsible for some types of skin cancers. UVA rays are the ones that can make the skin leathery and wrinkly in appearance and these also can contribute to certain skin cancers. (An easy way to remember: "A" is for aging and "B" is for burning). Both types are harmful to you in different ways.
UV light can be harmful to the skin as many of us know who have been badly sunburned. However, it can also be very bad for our eyes. Eye structures such as the cornea, retina, and lens are damaged from UV radiation, so protecting your eyes is vital.