July 2010 Tip of the Month: Sun Tricks

July 11, 2010 — July is UV Safety Month. Everyone is at risk for eye and skin disease due to exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Remember these tips when planning a day outside:

  • Wear sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays to protect your eyes. Exposure to bright sunlight can increase the risk of developing cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and growths on the eye, including cancer.
  • Use a sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15, which will filter out approximately 95 percent of the sun's ultraviolet rays. This should be applied at least 20 minutes prior to being exposed to the sun and reapplied every two hours. An SPF of 30 is slightly better, but only offers about 3 percent more protection.
  • Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. whenever possible.
  • Don't be fooled by a cloudy day – the sun's rays can still burn through haze and thin clouds.
  • Wear protective clothing, including a long-sleeve shirt, pants and a hat with a wide brim to shade your face, head, ears and neck.
  • Watch for the UV Index [link to http://www.epa.gov/sunwise/uvindex.html] daily. Reports can be found in local newspapers and television as well as on the Web.

To learn more about UV hazards and mitigation, go to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

For information, contact the Office of Emergency Preparedness at 434-982-0565 or uvaoep@virginia.edu.