July is known as Ultraviolet Safety Month. During this time, the mission is to spread awareness about the importance of protecting our eyes and skin from the side effects of UV rays. Ultraviolet radiation is a form of electromagnetic radiation that derives from the sun and man-made sources such as a tanning bed containing UV lamps, arc welding, and some fluorescent lights. UV rays are based on how much energy they contain. Did you know UV radiation is divided into 3 groups?
• UVA rays contain the lowest form of energy. Typically causing skin cells to age and indirect damage to cell’s DNA. Although UVA rays are primarily associated with long-term skin damage such as wrinkles, they have the potential to play a role in certain skin cancers.
• UVB rays contain the next highest form of energy. They have a direct correlation to damaging the DNA in skin cells and are the primary rays that cause sunburns. UVB rays are thought to cause most skin cancers.
• UVC rays contain the highest form of energy. In its natural environment such as the sun they react with ozone high in the atmosphere and are unable to reach the ground. Lowering the risk factor for skin cancer. However, UVC rays can come from certain man-made sources, such as UV sanitizing bulbs, mercury lamps, and welding torches.
Factors that determine the strength of the UV rays reaching the ground
• Spring and summer months
• Time of the day
• Higher altitudes
• Cloud cover
• Reflection off water, snow, and sand
• Ozone in the upper atmosphere
• Proximity to the equator
Make an appointment with your physician if you have any signs or symptoms that concern you. It is also recommended to get annual skin cancer screenings. For more information and guidance from the CDC click HERE