If you ever need scientific motivation to put on sunscreen, let the UV index be your guide! As UV radiation is the greatest risk factor for the development of melanoma and other skin cancers, the UV Index is an important tool for sun safety and the prevention of skin cancers. The UV Index is dictated by the strength of UV rays in a particular area, along with the UV reflection off of snow and sand in that area. The UV index changes throughout the day, but is the highest (like the summer heat!) at midday.
The UV Index ranges generally ranges 1-11, though higher UV is possible on exceptionally hot days. As the chart below demonstrates, taking sun precautions are recommended for UV Index levels of 3 or higher. These precautions can include limiting your time in the sun or seeking shade, applying sunscreen, and wearing UV protective clothing, sunglasses, or a hat; don’t forget to reapply that sunscreen every two hours, and more frequently if you are swimming, exercising, or near reflective surfaces such as snow or sand! Because the UV Index is often indicative of heat, we also recommend keeping hydrated to avoid conditions such as heatstroke. When the UV Index reaches 6 or greater, it is officially a ‘high’ UV Index, and it is imperative that these sun safety precautions be followed.
(“UV Index”, Canadian Cancer Society “UV Index“, Web)
Referencing the UV Index so you know how to prepare for the day is simple, as there are several UV Index apps and websites! Life has a great list of UV Index apps which you can check out here. If you want to look for the UV Index online, The Weather Network has a UV Index in its weather forecast, as does AccuWeather, and the Government of Canada website has a daily UV Index Forecast for many Canadian cities.
Now that you have the UV Index at your fingertips, there’s no excuse for not being exercising precautions when the UV Index is higher than 2! Thanks for reading, and stay sun safe out there!