Protect Yourself From the Sun

Children and adults love being outside during the summer months. Whether swimming, mowing the lawn or walking the dog, the best way to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays is to wear long sleeves and long pants or cover yourself with sunscreen.

When picking sunscreen, a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 is good, but 30 is better. SPF 30 is protective against 97 percent of the sun’s rays, whereas SPF 15 is protective against only 93 percent. When applying sunscreen, pay special attention to the tip of your nose, the tips of your ears and your neck.

Many sunscreens only protect from UVB rays, which are the harmful, burning rays from the sun. However, new research has shown that UVA rays (the sun’s tanning rays) also can contribute to premature aging and skin cancer.

Experts suggest applying sunscreen about 20 minutes before you are in the sun and allow it to dry, then reapply at least every two hours.

Follow these simple steps to protect yourself and your children from the sun:

  1. Stay in the shade and avoid the middle of the day sun as much as possible to decrease harmful sun exposure.
  2. Always apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15.
  3. Keep water handy when playing outside to stay well hydrated.
  4. Dress yourself and your children in clothing that covers as much skin as possible. Find a hat that shades the face, neck and ears and sunglasses.