Be sun smart this summer |

Be sun smart this summer

Sunshine is a great thing, but like almost everything, should be enjoyed in moderation. About 15 minutes of exposure per day helps the body make Vitamin D, which is important for healthy bones and teeth. Longer exposure may cause many problems, from wrinkles to skin cancer.

The sun gives off two kinds of ultraviolet radiation, called UVA and UVB. For many years, experts thought that only UVB was harmful. However, recent research suggests UVA may be just as dangerous as UVB, although its effects may take longer to show up. Melanoma may be caused by UVA rays.

The sun can damage the skin even on cloudy days, so use sunscreen daily ” regular use on children can lower their risk of skin cancer by almost 78 percent. Be especially careful at high elevations or in areas with surfaces that reflect the sun’s rays, such as sand, water, concrete, or snow. Reapply sunscreen frequently and use waterproof sunscreen when swimming.

Wear a hat, long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and sunglasses for full protection.

Encourage children to play in the shade, particularly when the sun’s rays are generally strongest, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Avoid sunlamps and tanning booths, because they give off mainly UVA rays. UVA rays are now known to cause serious skin damage and may increase the risk of melanoma.

The same UV rays that harm the skin can also cause injury to the eyes, with infants and children being particularly susceptible. Use sunglasses with 90 percent protection from UVB light.

According to the American Cancer Society, research shows a direct link between sunburns obtained during childhood and an increased risk of skin cancer later in life. In fact, the ACS estimates that about 80 percent of skin cancers could be prevented by protecting skin from the sun’s rays.

Don’t let a sunburn (or worse) keep you from having fun this summer ” remember to protect yourself!

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