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Staying Safe From UV Rays

Staying Safe From UV Rays As more seniors and their families spend time outdoors, they should take proactive measures to protect themselves from the sun's harmful rays. Some activities might require more frequent attention to sun protection than others, such as water activities. Remaining protected while outdoors is universally important for those of all ages, but especially so for young children and older adults.

July marks UV Safety Month, a time during which people around the country should become more knowledgeable about the practices and products that may help them stay protected in the sun. Seniors should keep the following sun safety tips in mind before they spend time outdoors. 

Debunking skin myths
To raise awareness of proper skin safety, the Federal Occupational Health (FOH) released a quiz for people to test their UV IQ. The organization highlighted a number of myths typically associated with sun safety, providing answers for these concerns and allowing people to read about the proper precautions necessary for staying truly safe in the sun. There are several commonly accepted beliefs regarding skin care the agency sought to remedy.

For example, the FOH reported that people picking between sunscreen products should not select products based upon terms like "waterproof," "sunblock" or "sweatproof," as these monikers mean little about the functional capability of the product. Additionally, the source noted that for a sunscreen to truly be recognized as capable of blocking all sun-related damage, it must be labeled as "Broad Spectrum SPF 15." The item can feature a higher SPF, but 15 is the minimum as set forth by the FDA.

The source also noted that individuals of all skin tones are at risk for developing sun-related damage. While those with lighter pigments may have a greater chance of contracting melanoma, no skin complexion is fully protected from the sun. 

Tailoring protection to activities
The American Academy of Dermatology reported that seniors should seek extra care when staying in the sun. During peak hours, or between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., older adults should remain in shaded areas or stay well-protected. Additionally, the source noted that people who want maximum protection from the sun should sport clothing with a great deal of coverage, such as pants and long-sleeved shirts. Seniors should also avoid reflective surfaces, such as sand, water or snow, as these can intensify UV rays. 

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