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July is UV Safety Month, and at Keefe Memorial Health Services District, we are dedicated to promoting sun safety and educating our community about the dangers of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Understanding the importance of UV protection can help prevent skin damage, premature aging, and serious health conditions like skin cancer. Here’s everything you need to know about staying safe under the sun.

Why UV Safety Matters

UV radiation from the sun is a significant cause of skin damage. Prolonged exposure can lead to:

  • Premature Aging: UV rays break down collagen and elastin fibers in the skin, leading to wrinkles, sagging, and other signs of aging.
  • Sunburn: A painful condition that can cause redness, swelling, and blistering. Repeated sunburns increase the risk of skin cancer.
  • Skin Cancer: The most serious consequence of UV exposure. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, but it’s also one of the most preventable.

Top Tips for UV Protection

  1. Wear Sunscreen
    • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 every day, even on cloudy days.
    • Apply sunscreen generously on all exposed skin, 15 minutes before going outside.
    • Reapply every two hours, or more frequently if swimming or sweating.
  2. Seek Shade
    • Stay in the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM when UV rays are strongest.
    • Use umbrellas, trees, or other shelters to reduce direct sun exposure.
  3. Wear Protective Clothing
    • Long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and wide-brimmed hats provide excellent protection.
    • Look for clothing with built-in UV protection for added safety.
    • Dark colors offer more protection than light colors.
  4. Use Sunglasses
    • Protect your eyes with sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays.
    • Sunglasses help prevent cataracts and other eye damage caused by UV exposure.
  5. Be Extra Cautious Around Reflective Surfaces
    • Water, sand, and snow can reflect and intensify UV rays, increasing your risk of sunburn.
    • Take extra precautions, such as wearing additional layers of clothing and reapplying sunscreen more frequently.
  6. Check the UV Index
    • The UV Index provides a daily forecast of the expected risk of overexposure to UV rays.
    • A higher UV Index means a greater need for protection. Check the UV Index before heading outdoors.

Get Your Skin Checked

Regular skin checks are crucial for early detection of skin cancer. We encourage everyone to perform self-exams and schedule annual skin examinations with a dermatologist. During a skin check, our dermatologists will look for any suspicious moles or spots that might indicate skin cancer. Early detection significantly improves the chances of successful treatment.

Join Us in Promoting UV Safety

We invite you to join Keefe Memorial Health Services District in spreading awareness about UV safety this July. Share these tips with your family and friends, and make sun safety a daily habit. Remember, protecting your skin today can prevent serious health issues in the future.

Stay safe and enjoy the sun responsibly!

For more information or to schedule a skin examination, contact us at (719) 767-5661.