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UV Safety Month

Summer is in full swing, which means long days of having fun in the sun!Due to the warm weather, and prolonged exposure to the sun, July is known as UV Safety Month.Let's take a few minutes to learn about UV rays, and how to protect yourself from them.

UV stands for ultraviolet radiation, and is the culprit for most skin cancers.UV rays come from the sun, tanning beds, and sun lamps.There are 3 kinds of UV rays: UVA, UVB, and UVC.UVA rays and UVB rays both damage and age skin cells and contribute the most to skin cancer.UVC rays do have more energy than the other two types of rays, but since they cannot get through the atmosphere, they are not thought as of a contributing factor to skin cancer.UV rays are strongest between 10 am – 4 pm during spring and winter, and don't let those clouds fool you!UV rays can get through those clouds.

Some ways to protect yourself from UV rays include staying in the shade as much as possible, wearing clothing that covers your skin, wearing sunglasses, and using sunscreen.To determine how strong UV rays are, you can look to your shadow – the shorter your shadow, the stronger the rays.Wearing clothing that covers your skin sounds like an easy solution, but do need to remember that the sun's rays can get through clothes!If you hold your piece of clothing up to the light, and can see light through it, the UV rays can get through.The best protection you can provide yourself is a combination of all of the preventative measures.

Stores have many different types of sunscreen, but what you need to pay attention to is the SPF number.SPF is the sun protection factor.The higher your SPF number, the more UVB protection you will receive from the sunscreen.According to the American Cancer Society, SPF 15 sunscreens will filter around 93% of UVB rays, SPF 30 is around 97% of UVB rays, SPF 50 is around 98%, and SPF 100 blocks about 99% of UVB rays.How about those UVA rays, though?There are some sunscreens that are broad spectrum sunscreen, meaning they protect against both UVA and UVB rays.Be sure to check the bottle to see if it is broad spectrum!While you are checking the label, be sure to check the expiration date, as sunscreen does expire after a couple of years.Before applying your sunscreen be sure to shake the bottle to mix the sunscreen – especially if it is an older bottle.

The team at Evergreen Senior Living hopes that you can make some wonderful summer memories, while making sure that your skin stays safe and healthy!

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