Do you know your UV index? You should!

Last weekend, visiting relatives in New York, my husband went to the Mets game with our 13 year old daughter and some relatives and friends. They had great seats on the 3rd base line, right in the open air! My daughter couldn’t believe how big Shea Stadium was compared to Fenway Park. It was a typical early spring day so they came prepared for the elements with windbreakers and baseball hats. By the time they came home, they all realized they had forgotten one very important thing: sunblock. Everyone had burned noses and my husband’s Irish arms were an interesting shade of red.

Today’s UV index where we live is 6. That is already in the moderate zone!! I had no idea that you could even map a UV index or calculate it until I read about that today in White Coat Notes. We all should be doing this much more!

Today’s White Coat Notes post has many excellent, expert driven sun safety tips that we all should be following. Here the the highlights but I’d recommend you read the entire post and click on the links for more information:

1. Use sunscreen – SPF 30 or higher that covers UVA and UVB and reapply every 2 hours
2. Wear protective clothing: long sleeved shirts, wide-brimmed hats, and sunglasses (many companies have UV clothing even for kids- just search for “sun protective clothing” on Dr. Google)
3. Avoid peak sun intensity hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m – and seek shade often (yes, that does say 4pm!!)
4. Avoid tanning beds – those are never, ever safe.

Two points from today’s White Coat Notes that I do want to reintegrate. First, keep in mind sun exposure is one of the few cancer exposures we have total control over. That doesn’t happen to often in the cancer world. Skin cancer from sun exposure is preventable – if any of us get this cancer, we have only to look into a mirror to discover how we got it.

Second, spray on tans are safe and fun but don’t go over board or you’ll look like an OompaLoompa!

So, have fun in the sun…just do it carefully.

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