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National UV safety month: What you need to know about UV rays

Summer is arguably the best of the four seasons: warmer weather, longer days, and shorter work hours (if you’re lucky) make for more time outside and in the sun. Whether you’re at the pool, the beach, or going for a run in the sun, it’s important to know how to protect your skin from the sun’s UV rays.

Did you know that July is National UV Safety Month? Ultraviolet (UV) radiation comes from the sun and is invisible to the human eye. However, it is responsible for both sun tans and sunburns. Knowing UV levels and what they mean for your skin could save you from a sunburn or skin cancer down the road.

UV rays are measured on a scale of 0 to 11+. The strongest UV possible is ranked at 11 or above. UV rays are strongest in the summertime between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. UV strength also increases in higher elevations. Unlike the sun, UV rays can easily pass through some types of clouds, so it’s important to protect your skin even on cloudy days.

The amount of UV a person is exposed to depend on the strength of the UV rays, the length of time spent in the sun, and whether the skin is protected. If you plan on spending time in the sun this summer, get familiar with the UV index scale. You can check the UV index at any time on your weather app or on your local weather channel’s website.

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