Rays

Fun-in-the-Sun Fridays – “UV Index”

Just last week we learned how harmful UV rays can cause short- and long-term health issues. But to really know how to protect ourselves, we still need to learn how to check the UV index!

A quick internet search (or a simple weather app) can tell you the current UV index for your area. Here’s what those numbers mean (according to the EPA):

UV Index: 0-2

  • Low danger of sun damage for most people.

  • Wear sunglasses and sunscreen if you’re spending time outside in the sun.

  • Water, snow, sand, and certain bright-patio surfaces reflect UV rays, making exposure levels higher – so be aware!

UV Index: 3-5

  • Moderate risk of sun damage for most people.

  • Wear long sleeves and pants, eye protection, hats, and sunscreen when outside in the sun.

  • Pay extra attention to UV-reflective surfaces and limit your time in the sun during peak hours (10am-4pm).

UV Index: 6-7

  • High risk of sun damage for most people.

  • Sunglasses, protective clothing, and hats are a must!

  • Wear sunscreen and make sure to reapply every 2 hours and after swimming or sweating.

  • Be super-careful on UV-reflective surfaces and reduce your time in the sun during peak hours (10am-4pm).

UV Index: 8-10

  • Very high risk of harmful sun exposure!

  • Sunburns to skin and eyes will happen quickly if not protected.

  • Try to stay out of the sun completely between 10am and 4pm.

  • If you need to go outside in the sun, wear long sleeves and pants, hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen.

  • Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours – more often after swimming or sweating.

  • Seek shade whenever possible and avoid all UV-reflective surfaces.

UV Index: 11+

  • Extreme risk of sun damage from exposure.

  • Burns can occur in mere minutes when not protected!

  • Avoid going in the sun between 10am and 4pm.

  • If you do need to go outside in the sun, wear long sleeves and pants, hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen.

  • Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours – more often after swimming or sweating.

  • Seek shade whenever possible and avoid all UV-reflective surfaces.

TODAY’S CHALLENGE: 

Check the UV index! Pay attention to it as the week goes on and plan your activities and outfits accordingly.

HOT SHOTS:

Use the “shadow rule” to estimate the UV index when you’re unable to look it up.

The shadow rule:

  • Check out your shadow.

  • If it’s taller than you are – like it is in the morning and evening – the UV index is likely on the low-end of the scale.

  • If it’s shorter than you are – like it is around noon – the UV index is likely on the higher end of the scale.

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