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Monday, 25 June 2018
As we kick off our Irish heatwave this week, it’s important to know how to stay healthy and happy in the super summer sunshine. While we all need some sunshine in our lives, not least for the abundance of Vitamin D it provides, there’s a few things to bear in mind. Before leaping into a long day in the sun, it’s a good idea to know what to wear, to keep drinking water and to protect yourself from those strong UV rays.
So, what is UV radiation? UV rays come from the sun (and other places like tanning beds!) as radiation that you can’t see or feel. These rays can be potentially harmful, penetrating the inner layers of the skin, causing aging, wrinkling and sometimes skin cancer. There’s a few factors that contribute to the level of UV rays you will be exposed to such as time of day, time of year, location and surface reflection.
Sun exposure is unavoidable, but it’s important to remember that unprotected skin exposed to UV radiation can also lead to several adverse health effects such as
Sunburn – this type of radiation burn occurs when the amount of UV exposure is
more than the amount of melanin, the pigment in your skin that absorbs UV light.
Skin aging and wrinkling –the skin loses its elasticity, the outer layer of the skin becomes thick, leathery and wrinkled
Skin cancer –it is the most common of all cancers in the US.
Eye damage – this occurs when the tissues of the eye are unprotected to UV radiation.
Weakened immune system – this occurs as repeated overexposure to UV radiation inhibits the immune functions of the skin
Enjoy it, but keep yourself protected from the sun!
By making sure to take on sun protection measures like the following, you can reduce the risk for skin cancer and other adverse health effects.
Stay in the shade – seeking shade under an umbrella or tree can help protect you from UV exposure, even if utilised at intervals.
Cover up – protect your skin from UV rays with clothing, wear a wide brimmed hat to cover your face, neck and ears; wear sunglasses to protect your eyes
Apply sunscreen – wear sun cream on all exposed areas before going outside everyday regardless of it being sunny or cloudy, cool or hot
Avoid tanning beds – these emit UV rays similar to the sun; remember that tanning indoors is not safer than tanning outdoors in the sun and can be potentially very harmful.