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 July is National UV Safety Month - Protect yourself and your loved ones.

The sun is absolutely necessary for life. It gives us the light and heat we need to survive. However, overexposure to Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can lead to skin cancer — especially melanoma, the deadliest form.

Nationwide, July is the month in which we acknowledge raising the level of awareness about this preventable disease that claims the life of one person every 50 minutes.

The sun radiates light to the earth. Different types of lights are produced; such as infrared light, color light, and ultraviolet light.

UV radiation is part of the electromagnetic (light) spectrum that reaches the earth from the sun. It has wavelengths shorter than visible light, making it invisible to the naked eye. These wavelengths are classified as UVA, UVB, or UVC.

UVA: These types of rays cause skin aging, wrinkling, and contribute to skin cancer.

UVB: This type of ray is also dangerous; they cause sunburns, cataracts, and they affect a person's immune system.

UVC is absorbed by the ozone layer and does not reach the earth.

Here are some interesting facts:

  • Women are around twice as likey to apply suncreen as men.
  • Being exposed to UVB has benefits; UVB radiation triggers the to produce vitamin D3.
  • You may think a tan looks good, but it's actually a sign that your skin is damaged from UV radiation. Artificially produced UV radiation, such as tanning beds, are just as dangerous as the radiation fron the sun.
  • Here's a double-sided fact. Too much sun exposure has been proven to cause skin cancers and other negative impacts on the body's immune system; although moderate amounts have been proven to treat diseases too.
  • Bet you didn't know this... Wearing perfume in the sun can be dangerous. The heat can chemically change some of the ingredients, which can cause allergic rashes and age spots.
  • The sun can affect your eyes. You can get temporary injuries such as photokeratitis (a painful eye condition caused by exposure of insufficiently protected eyes to the ultraviolet (UV) rays from either natural or artificial sources) and photoconjunctivitis (an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the membrane that lines the inside of the eyelids and eye socket). Too much exposure to UV light raises the risks of eye diseases, including cataract, growths on the eye, and eye cancer.
  • The sun is strongest between 11 AM and 4 PM.
  • The higher the sun is in the sky, the more intense the sun rays are.
  • Even snow can be adverse. The light color of snow reflects the sun's UV rays, causing harm to our skin even in the cold. Strong exposure to snow reflection can also quickly cause painful damage called snow blindness.

Sun damage to eyes can occur anytime during the year, not just in the summertime, so be sure to protect your skin and eyes.

  • Don't wait for your skin to tell you when to get out of the sun. If you are burnt, your skin is already badly damaged.
  • Wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.  The higher the SPF number the better and the more protected you are.
  • Use sunglasses that have 100% UV protection.
  • Don't spend more that 30 - 60 minutes in the sun near noon.
  • Wear protective clothing while spending a lot of time in the sun.
  • After being out in the sun, apply vitamin E to your skin. It helps prevent age spots.
  • Try to avoid being out in the sun between 11 AM and 4PM,  this is when the sun is strongest.
  • While in the sun, DRINK LOTS OF WATER to stay hydrated!


The ADRC of Dane County provides information about resources and support on all aspects of life related to aging or living with a disability and is a one-stop shop for older adults, people with disabilities and their families. ADRC staff are unbiased and knowledgeable professionals who listen to your concerns, help clarify your options and direct you to appropriate resources. The ADRC is also the access point for information about long-term care options and applying for public benefits. Services provided by the ADRC are free and available to all Dane County residents regardless of income or assets.

ADRC staff are available weekdays from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. by calling 608-240-7400. Individuals can also send email inquiries to adrc@countyofdane.com, drop by our office on North Sherman Avenue or visit us at www.daneadrc.org. Home visits are available upon request.