Practice Sun Safety this Summer
by Amanda Walberg
Summer is upon us and sun safety is important when spending time outdoors. Whether it is hot and sunny outside or a cloudy day, no one is completely safe from the effects of the sun, but there are things you can do to increase your sun safety this summer.
Clouds filter sunlight, but they don’t filter out harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Extreme heat and UV radiation can cause a number of issues including sun burns and heat-related illnesses, like heat exhaustion, heat stroke and even skin cancer.
Practicing sun safety can reduce the risk of developing skin cancer. It is important to be cautious of the UV index and ensure you are seeking shade and hydrating. The UV index tends to show the strongest amount of UV rays between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm. Fun fact – when your shadow is the shortest, the UV rays are the strongest. During this time, sun protection is even more important.
Always remember to wear sunscreen! Choose one that protects against both UVA rays, which penetrate deep into the skin, and UVB rays, which delay sunburns. Also, be sure to choose sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or higher and is water-resistant for activity. Apply 15-30 minutes before heading outside and reapply every 2 hours or more often during peak times. It is important to check the expiry date of the sunscreen as it does expire!
Sun damage is preventable with just a few extra precautions. Here are a few things that you can do to help protect yourself and your loved ones from the harmful effects from the sun:
- Avoid going outside at peak times, like in the afternoon when the UV index is at it’s highest.
- Apply sunscreen (SPF 30 of higher) 30 minutes before going outside and remember to reapply throughout the day.
- Wear a hat when heading outdoors.
- Seek shade when possible, especially if you are outside for a long time.
- Wear sunglasses with UV protection for your eyes.
- Cover up your skin to prevent sun burns.
- Limit your time in the sun.
For more information on sun safety, please visit www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/sun-safety.html.