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Raising Awareness in July for Ultraviolet Safety Month

Summer is the perfect time to head outdoors and enjoy the sunny weather. But are you properly protecting yourself from potential risks?

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has named July Ultraviolet (UV) Safety Month. The goal is to spread the word about how important it is to protect your skin from the harmful effects of UV rays.

Most people don’t realize that UV light is a form of radiation. UV radiation comes naturally from the sun but can also be created from other sources. “When the sunlight passes through the atmosphere, most of the UV rays are absorbed by the ozone. Although still extremely powerful, it allows the heat waves to be less tense,” Kristen Jordan, Program Assistant and Research Coordinator for Oncology Services at Elliot Health System, explains.

Tanning beds also have harmful UV rays that are stronger than the sun. This can cause extreme skin damage. The safety risks of UV rays are as anyone would expect, a sun burn which could then lead to skin cancer.

Jordan says, “The best way to protect one’s self from harmful UV rays is to stay out of the sun and tanning beds. If you must go into the sun, then it is best to use a sunscreen over SPF 30 to ensure that your skin is protected. Also wearing clothes to cover sensitive parts of the body such as face and shoulders can minimize all risk of getting painful burns in those areas. The sun cannot be avoided but taking the proper steps can help reduce the risk of getting any type of skin cancer.”