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How to stay safe in the summer sun

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Posted at 5:42 AM, May 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-17 06:42:55-04

As the summer months near and temperatures warm up, many people will be spending more time outside and that means it's time to start thinking about the UV index.

UV or Ultra Violet radiation are rays that are invisible to the human eye, this type of radiation is responsible for suntans and sunburns. While only ten percent of sunlight is in the form of UV and only about a third of these rays actually penetrate the atmosphere and reach the ground, overexposure can cause damage and sensitivity to the skin.

The UV index is a tool designed to help measure the strength of skin-burning UV radiation at a particular time and place. Ozone depletion as well as seasonal and weather variations can all contribute to different amounts of UV reaching the earth at any given time.

The UV index predicts the level of exposure and the risk associated with it, the higher the number the greater the risk of overexposure to the sun.

Protecting yourself will be important this summer. You can start by applying sunscreen of at least SPF 30 about fifteen minutes before heading outside. Limiting your time outside is also important. The sun is at its strongest between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so if you can avoid activates during this hour that will help reduce your risk of harmful exposure. If staying out of the sun during peak daytime hours is not an option, seeking shade periodically and wearing light colored clothing are all ways to prevent overexposure.