While sunlight has health benefits, it is important to take precautions to protect ourselves from potentially harmful UV rays.
During the Winter and Spring months, it is important to protect yourself while pursuing snow sports, such as skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing. The sun’s reflection off of snow can increase the amount of UV radiation you receive by up to 85%. Wearing sunscreen and sunglasses will help protect exposed areas. It is recommended that you take the same precautions during Summer water sports.
An SPF30 is the minimum protection recommended, and sunscreen should be applied twenty minutes before heading outdoors to allow for activation time. Remember to reapply every two hours, or after swimming or perspiring.
When you are unsure of the UV strength on a particular day, it is useful to consult the UV index. The UV index is a simplified measurement system for the sun’s damaging rays and a guideline to protection. These are available online and as phone apps.
The UV index measures as follows:
- 0-2 – Low Risk – minimal sun protection required (unless near water or snow). Wear sunglasses if bright.
- 3-5 – Moderate Risk – take precautions – wear sunscreen, sunhat, sunglasses, seek shade during peak hours of 11 am to 4 pm.
- 6-7 – High Risk – wear sun protective clothing, sunscreen, and seek shade.
- 8-10 – Avoid the sun – seek shade – wear sun protective clothing, sun screen & sunglasses. White sand increases UV radiation exposure.
- 11 + – Take full precautions. Unprotected skin can burn in minutes. Avoid the sun between 11 am and 4 pm, wear sunscreens & sun protective clothing.