June 23, 2014



Block the sun, not the fun

By Lisa Linck

Summer has officially arrived. That means it is time for family vacations, outdoor sports and other fun, sun-filled activities. Be sure to “block the sun, not the fun” by wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. Remember, the sun is at its highest and strongest between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Sun Safety Alliance encourages parents to lead by example. If you practice sun safety, your children are likely to model those sun safe habits. Teach your children to apply sunscreen and stay in the shade.

Here are some daily sun safety tips from the Sun Safety Alliance:

• Monday: Insect repellants reduce sunscreen’s SPF by up to one-third. When using a combination, use a sunscreen with a higher SPF.

• Tuesday: Overexposure to the sun’s harmful rays can result in sunburns, which increase your risk of developing skin cancer. Be sure to check your local UV index, which provides important information to help you plan your outdoor activities in ways that prevent overexposure to the sun. The UV index forecast is issued each afternoon by the National Weather Service and Environmental Protection Agency.

• Wednesday: Seek the shade whenever possible. The sun’s UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so remember the shadow rule when in the sun: If your shadow is short it’s time to stop and seek the shade.

• Thursday: Don’t be deceived by color or cost of sunglasses. The ability to block UV light is not dependent on the darkness of the lens or the price tag. While both plastic and glass lenses absorb some UV light, UV absorption is improved by adding certain chemicals to the lens material during manufacturing or by applying special lens coatings. Always choose sunglasses that are labeled as blocking 99-100 percent of UV rays. Some manufacturers’ labels will say “UV absorption up to 400nm.” This is the same thing as 100 percent UV absorption. Look before you choose.

• Friday: Sunburn doesn’t only happen during the summer. Water, snow and sand reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn. Protect yourself year round by using sunscreen with protection from both UVA and UVB rays, and an SPF of 15 or greater. Wear protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen on the exposed areas of your skin whenever possible. Block the sun, not the fun!