July is National Ultraviolet (UV) Safety Awareness Month. To mark the occasion, enjoy summer fun in the sun. But also protect yourself from harmful rays which candamage your skin and eyes in just 15 minutes. I would hate to develop age spots because they might clash with the spots I already have!The American Cancer Society reports that exposure to electromagnetic radiation from the sun, tanning beds, and welding torches leads to cancer, not to mention pre-mature aging. Other harmful effects from UV exposure include vision problems and immune-suppression. In all cases, your first line of defense is coverage. Personally, I recommend fur for coverage.
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the nation, with almost 5.5 million cases diagnosed in Americans each year. That’s more than breast, colon, lung, and prostate cancers combined. In fact, one out of every five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer at some point.The good news is that skin cancer is the most preventable of all forms of the disease. That IS good news!
Before we get into specifics about how to protect yourself, let’s discuss the different types of UV rays, which produce electromagnetic radiation. UV Rays can be divided into three main categories:
These can damage skin cells, leading to premature aging. UVA rays are lead to long-term skin damage such as wrinkles as well as some forms of skin cancer. I’m glad I don’t have wrinkles like a lot of Shar-Peis I know.
Producing slightly more energy than UVA rays, these can damage the DNA in skin cells. These are also the variety that typically cause sunburns. Also, most skin cancers originate from this type of exposure.
These emit more energy than other types of UV rays. Thus, they react with ozone in our atmosphere. So, most do not reach the ground. This is the reason UVC rays do not typically lead to skin cancer. However, those that come from man-made sources, such as arc welding torches, mercury lamps, and UV sanitizing bulbs that kill bacteria and other germs can lead to skin cancer.
To be safe, observe these UV Radiation Tips:
Take shelter. (I recommend a well-ventilated doghouse.)
Since the sun’s glare is brightest at mid-day, seek out the shade between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. And remember that the sun peeks through the clouds. So, take shelter even on stormy-looking days. If you’re heading to the beach or a park, bring a sun umbrella or pop-up tent. This is important whether your destination includes water, snow or sand.
Wear protective clothing.
First, don’t intentionally tan. Although you may feel like you look healthier with a bit of color, the opposite is true. There is no such thing as a safe way to tan. Invest in some UV-protective clothing, which will keep your skin safer than sunscreen, alone.
Keep a lid on it.
Hats will guard your face even if sunscreen wears off. So, choose something with a wide brim and wear it with pride. Your face is the first thing people see. Keep yours in the pink by zealously protecting it.
Cover your peepers.
You only get one set of eyes. Take care of them.
Lather on lotion.
According to the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, most people apply only 20-50 percent of the recommended amount of sunscreen. What’s more, most forget to reapply as they should – every two hours. I’m not a fan of sunscreen because it makes my fur greasy.Sunscreen products work by absorbing, reflecting, or scattering sunlight.Choose a broad-spectrum variety with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15. Be mindful of the expiration date so you can replace when needed. And, if possible, double up by wearing moisturizer or makeup that offers SPF.
Have fun in the sun this summer. And be safe!
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