Sun Protection Messages
Being outdoors is good for you. Just remember to take these simple precautions to protect yourself from the sun's harmful rays throughout the year and to check the UV Index before you go outside.
Photo: © Josh Felise, 2015
In the late winter and early spring, fresh white snow can increase the amount of Ultraviolet (UV) radiation you receive by up to 85 per cent. Protect yourself on the ski slopes or on the trails by wearing sunscreen on your face, and sunglasses to protect your eyes.
In the summertime, consider doing outdoor activities such as swimming before 11 a.m. or after 4 p.m. Remember too that water and sand reflect UV radiation. Also, try to spend less time in the sun by finding shade. When you are outdoors, wear clothes that cover your skin such as hats, shoes, long pants and long-sleeved shirts. Protect your eyes with sunglasses that are UV rated and wear a lot of sunscreen on skin that is not covered. Your sunscreen should block both UV-B and UV-A and have a SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 15 or more. Be sure to reapply it every two hours or after swimming or exercising.
In the spring and fall, UV radiation from the sun can be very strong especially in the spring when ozone depletion is of concern. When outdoors, wear protective clothing, sunglasses and a hat. Put on sunscreen to protect any exposed skin. Burns and skin damage can occur quickly and stay with you for life.
Photo: © Mevans, istock.com, 2004
When should you start taking these protective measures? As soon as you know you'll be in the sun. We now know that it takes very little time for UV rays to damage your DNA, and increase your risk of skin cancers, weakened immune systems and eye damage.
Remember that by the time you see it, the damage has already been done. So start protecting yourself as soon as you are in the sun!
UV Index Values and Sun Protection: Detailed Table
Environment Canada developed the UV Index to inform Canadians about the strength of the sun's UV (ultraviolet) rays. UV rays can cause sunburns, eye cataracts, skin aging and skin cancer. The higher the UV Index number, the stronger the sun's rays, and the greater the need to take precaution.
The table below outlines the sun protection actions recommended at different levels of the UV Index.
|UV Index||Description||Sun Protection Actions|
|0 - 2||Low|
|3 - 5||Moderate|
|6 - 7||High|
|8 - 10||Very High|
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